Anthony Gordon recovers from injury in time to take advantage of Miguel Almiron's absence
Anthony Gordon has recovered quickly from an ankle injury and will now look to prove that Newcastle United were right to spend so much money on him.
Telegraph Sport can reveal that Gordon will be fit to play some part in next weekend’s home game against Manchester United, still looking to show what he is capable of adding to the side following his £45million switch from Everton.
With Miguel Almiron not expected to be available until the end of April because of a thigh injury, Gordon will compete with Jacob Murphy to start on the right of Newcastle’s three-man attack, with Allan Saint-Maximin on the left.
Gordon’s ability to play on both flanks – manager Eddie Howe also feels he could also operate in midfield if needed – was one of the reasons he was such an attractive signing.
But the 22-year-old has started just one game since forcing his way out of Everton in the January window and struggled in the 2-0 defeat to Manchester City on March 4. His other appearances have come as a substitute and there have only been flashes of his quality in those cameo displays.
Newcastle will need more from him in the run-in if they are going to secure a Champions League spot next season. The club are fifth in the Premier League, two points below Tottenham Hotspur with two games in hand, and five points clear of Liverpool in sixth.
Gordon missed a good chance against City before damaging his ankle later in the game, an injury which kept him out of the wins over Wolverhampton Wanderers and Nottingham Forest.
As he has shown with club record signing Alexander Isak, Howe tends to ease new signings into the first team at Newcastle and Gordon may well find himself back on the bench against Manchester United.
Murphy has played well in the last two wins having been given a rare chance to start in the Premier League, which is likely to frustrate Gordon’s eagerness to impress. Saint-Maximin struggled against Nottingham Forest and was taken off at half-time, but he tends to be more effective in home games.
Gordon has had a difficult season since becoming disillusioned at Goodison Park, having been one of the rare bright sparks for Everton as they avoided relegation last term. In fact, he found himself attracting plenty of criticism as Everton struggled again this season before deciding he needed a fresh start on Tyneside.
Howe will urge him to be patient but there is more pressure on him now than ever before because of the price tag and Newcastle’s willingness to spend their entire January transfer budget on just one player.
Almiron’s thigh problem is not going to heal quickly, so this feels like an ideal opportunity for Gordon to grasp.
Newcastle have also received good news on the fitness of goalkeeper Nick Pope, who pulled out of the England squad for the latest round of international fixtures. Centre-back Fabian Schar should also be fit to face Manchester United after missing Switzerland’s European qualifiers. Defender Sven Botman withdrew from the Netherlands squads with illness which is thought to have been caused by food poisoning and Newcastle are not sure yet whether he will have recovered fully.