How Anthony Gordon became central to Newcastle’s Champions League hopes

On current form, he might be. That may not surprise Thomas Tuchel, who wanted to sign Gordon for Chelsea in 2022, but represents swift progress nonetheless, albeit from a man who does everything at speed. Gordon began the season in a job-share with Harvey Barnes on the left flank. Now he is indispensable there and Plan C in the middle which, with Alexander Isak injured and Wilson rarely playing 90 minutes, can give him the most iconic of duties on Tyneside: being Newcastle’s centre forward.

There is a question if Gordon can keep on running; he has never started more than 30 club games in a season and is already up to 13 now. “I’m maxed out but I do feel good,” he said. “I’m not complaining.” Rather, he is grasping an opportunity. “I can’t praise him enough,” Howe added. “After a difficult first few months at the club, where he was keen to show his qualities, he was patient and learned how we play and now he is reaping the rewards.”

One came in the form of a tap-in against Arsenal, equalling his career-best tally of four goals in a season. It was a curiosity when Gordon said: “I used to be obsessed with goals and assists.” Yet they were never his forte. He only scored seven times in 78 games for Everton; even then, three of his four goals in 2021-22 were deflected. He scarcely seems the most clinical of finishers. If the next step is to add more goals, Gordon has a nuisance value that means he is irrepressible. It has made him central, in more ways than one.

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