Elliot Anderson's pushing for Newcastle United squad place as Eddie Howe pushes for transfers
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Anderson, labelled a “bright spark” by Eddie Howe after Friday’s friendly against 1860 Munich, caught the eye against in this afternoon’s 1-0 defeat to Mainz 05.
The 19-year-old – who helped loan club Bristol Rovers win promotion last season – caused problems with his movement and physicality after coming on at the hour-mark at the Kufstein Arena.
And with Howe still short of a striker and winger ahead of the new season, Anderson could yet come into his thinking in terms of his 25-man Premier League squad.
Anderson’s physically ready for first-team football – and he’s quickly maturing as a footballer. The midfielder needs games to further his development – and he may just get some football at United this season.
Howe had handed new signing Sven Botman his full debut alongside a number of his international players at the Kufstein Arena, where the team was backed by a vocal group of fans.
Kieran Trippier led the team with club captain Jamaal Lascelles among the substitutes.
They had to be patient in the early stages, and contend with some early Mainz pressure in 28-degree heat. Three days earlier, Howe felt that his team had been fatigued against 1860 Munich following their exertions on the training pitch in the build-up to the game.
They were sharper in possession and stronger without the ball against Mainz, who compete in the Bundesliga.
Newcastle’s first chance fell to Chris Wood. Sean Longstaff lofted a ball to Miguel Almiron on the right. Wood shot over after Almiron pulled the ball back to him.
Howe replaced Paul Dummett with Matt Ritchie with 30 minutes gone in a planned change. Wood put another chance wide, and Kieran Trippier couldn’t find the target with a free-kick in the baking heat.
The half ended goalless, and Howe sent out an unchanged side for the second half.
Botman and Bruno Guimaraes made blocks to deny Mainz early in the new half, and Joelinton forced a save at the other end of the pitch as United’s substitutes got ready to come on.
Dan Burn replaced Fabian Schar after the defender went down with cramp, and Mainz were ahead seconds later after Tripper gave the ball away from a free-kick. Delano Burgzorg was on target.
Howe then made planned changes for the 60-minute mark. Allan Saint-Maximin and Callum Wilson were among those who came on.
Jacob Murphy had a great chance to level from an Emil Krafth cross, but he didn’t connect properly and missed the target.
Anderson – who had also come on – was lauded by as the “Geordie Maradona” by the United fans in the main stand. Anderson drifted around the pitch and found pockets of space, but he couldn’t force a breakthrough.
Wilson forced a save late in the game after being played in by Emil Krafth, who needed treatment after getting flattened after playing his pass up the right.
NEWCASTLE UNITED: Dubravka (Pope, 61), Trippier (Krafth, 61), Schar (Burn, 57), Botman (Lascelles, 61), Dummett (Ritchie, 30, Targett, 61), Almiron (Murphy, 61), Guimaraes (Shelvey, 61), Joelinton (Willock, 61), Fraser (Saint-Maximin, 61), Wood (Wilson, 61), S Longstaff (Anderson, 61). Subs not used: M Longstaff, Turner-Cooke.