Eddie Howe is confident there is more to come from Anthony Gordon as he attempts to force his way into Gareth Southgate’s England squad for next summer’s Euro 2024 finals.
The 22-year-old, a £45million signing from Everton in January, scored for the fourth successive Premier League game at St James’ Park to secure a 1-0 victory over Manchester United on Saturday night to further enhance his blossoming reputation.
Howe has studiously avoided pressing Gordon’s case for a senior international call-up, but knows further improvement will inevitably catapult him into Southgate’s thinking.
Asked how much more there is to come from the youngster, Howe said: “I think there is a lot more to come, but I would say that, that’s always been my mentality to players, especially if they want to improve.
“Anthony has got this desire to get better every day. Every day he steps on to the training pitch, he’s wanting to do extra. We have to sometimes take him off the pitch ourselves when we feel he’s done enough.
“But he’s got a burning motivation to be the best that he’s capable of becoming and we’re loving working with him.
“There’s an openness in him, he is inquisitive, he wants to ask questions, he wants to start that dialogue and debate his game which is great from our perspective.”
Asked if his consistent level of performance put him in contention for England’s Euros campaign, Howe said: “I’d agree that he’s playing at a very, very high level and he has done this season. When you’ve come here to watch Anthony, that’s been his level.
“He is getting the goals and you need the headlines if you are going to force your way into the England squad with the competition that he has in those positions.
“There’s a long way to go to that squad and he’s just got to keep very level and focused on playing so well for us, and hopefully the rest will take care of itself.”
The only sour note for Newcastle was an injury to keeper Nick Pope, who is to see a specialist after dislocating his left shoulder late in the game.
Howe said: “That’s the disappointment of the night. Nick looks like he’s dislocated his shoulder. It was such a strange thing, really, because he has made that dive thousands of times, but it looks like the arm has kept going maybe on the moist floor and his shoulder has come out of joint.
“We’re going to have to seek specialist opinion and see what happens, but it doesn’t look good for him.”