Steve Bruce must place his trust in Newcastle United prospect Elliot Anderson following injuries for Allan Saint-Maximin and Miguel Almiron.
Is Anderson ready for the Newcastle first-team?
Yes, he has real potential
No, he isn’t ready yet
If Almiron’s campaign has reached its end, Newcastle will lose their second-best goalscorer as the 27-year-old has provided four of his side’s 27 strikes over 24 Premier League outings. Bruce is also still without 10-goal top-scorer Callum Wilson for the next three to four weeks.
Being without Saint-Maximin as well will remove a vast quantity of United’s creativity, with the 23-year-old the Magpies’ second-ranked option for assists with three in 16 games to Wilson’s five in 21 outings to date.
These blows could open the door for academy product Anderson to make his full step up to the senior-fold, having been given his debut in the FA Cup away to Arsenal in January before featuring from the bench for his Premier League bow nine days later.
But Anderson has not been seen on the field since his three top-flight minutes at the Emirates Stadium, with Bruce only naming the 18-year-old as a substitute three further times before omitting the midfielder altogether.
Bruce had blocked all loan approaches for the North Shields-born talent during the winter transfer market, despite Luton Town wanting to take Anderson and give him regular game time in the Championship during the remainder of the season, per Chronicle Live.
The Magpies boss believed Anderson had a chance of establishing himself at St. James’ Park before United were engulfed in a relegation battle, yet should now give him that chance as attacking options dwindle.
Newcastle have high hopes for Anderson’s potential and Bruce has stated that he’s “delighted” with the progress seen. The United coach has also declared that the midfielder has a “big future” ahead of him, and he should now unleash the technically-gifted player.
Anderson is lauded for his knack of getting into the right positions to pose a threat on the edge and inside the box, and quickly earned the respect of the first-team dressing room with his efforts in training following his call-up earlier in the season.
He has often shown the touch in front of the goal that Newcastle will lose without Almiron and Saint-Maximin with the Toon’s Under 23s, and took his tally for the term to seven in nine games across all competitions with a goal during a 3-2 win over West Bromwich Albion last week.
The Scotland U19 international has also provided one assist in the Premier League 2 this season, and captained Chris Hogg’s young United side in the EFL Trophy against League Two outfit Bolton Wanderers in November.
Bruce surely has to place his trust in Anderson offering that same option in the senior fold now. As if the loss of two first-team stars does not create that chance, when will it?
He might not want to start the youngster, but he should be trusted as a bench option at the very least.