Newcastle United player could leave next season after international ‘snub’ – Eddie Howe faces decision
The 20-year-old came off the bench and thought he’d scored his first Newcastle goal during an impressive substitute display in Friday’s 2-1 win at Nottingham Forest last time out. Anderson’s header was ruled out following a VAR intervention.
But with Newcastle’s squad improving each transfer window, it will become harder for the academy product to break into an increasingly more competitive starting line-up. Last season, Anderson went out on loan to Bristol Rovers in League Two, this season he has gained valuable first-team experience under Eddie Howe but has been limited to just one Premier League start.
And that start against Liverpool was cut unfortunately short as Howe hooked Anderson off early in the first half following Nick Pope’s sending off. Anderson could be loaned out again next season and wouldn’t be short of potential suitors with several Championship and Scottish Premiership sides understood to be interested in his services.
Luton Town came close to signing the youngster last January and could revisit their interest in the summer along with several others. But Anderson has been able to prove his worth to Newcastle’s first-team with some impactful performances from the bench.
With 12 games to go in the season and injury issues for the likes of Anthony Gordon and Miguel Almiron, Anderson could be handed a chance to impress.
Elliot Anderson’s international crossroads
Anderson missed out on a call-up to the Scotland Under-21s squad this month amid uncertainty over his international allegiance. The midfielder has one Under-21s cap for Scotland but has withdrawn from the last two squads in September and November 2022.
Anderson, who hails from Whitley Bay, has a paternal grandmother from Scotland. He represented Scotland at Under-16, Under-17 and Under-18 level before switching to England, the country of his birth, at Under-19 level.
Despite reverting back to Scotland, the ‘tug-of-war’ for Anderson’s international future continues with England hoping to persuade him to switch again and join their Under-21s set-up. Choosing Scotland would give Anderson a good chance of earning a senior international call-up while choosing England would be considerably harder to break into the senior squad but historically brings more opportunity on the international stage.
If Anderson is persuaded to switch to England, he wouldn’t be able to play for the Under-21s until September, when their Euro 2025 qualifying campaign gets under way.
England international backs Elliot Anderson for success
England regular Kieran Trippier has backed his Newcastle team-mate to have a successful career providing he remains patient and keeps up the hard work.
“We have a lot of talks, me and Elliot,” the England international told The Gazette. “He's a young lad with so much potential, I really mean that.
"It's crazy really how good he is. He just needs to be patient and keep working hard as he's been doing. I thought he was unbelievable in the second half when he came on [at Nottingham Forest].
"He's got a massive future ahead of him, he just has to keep being patient and I don’t think he’s done himself any harm because I think he took his chance.”
Eddie Howe’s 10-word question for Elliot Anderson at Newcastle
Anderson has made 17 appearances for The Magpies in all competitions this season but has largely been used as an impact substitute, particularly in league matches.
And Howe feels the youngster is at the ‘hardest part of his Newcastle career’ with no guarantees over the direction his career will take.
“The quality of our squad, it's never going to be easy to break in,” admitted the Newcastle head coach. “It's the hardest phase of his career, really. You can play well in youth football, and look an outstanding talent, but actually breaking through into the Premier League is incredibly difficult to do.
"We're a top team, and we have top players in his position. He's competing to try and make that breakthrough.
"This is the hardest part of his Newcastle career. Can he make that next step on a consistent basis? He certainly did himself no harm [against Nottingham Forest."
What is next for Elliot Anderson?
Anderson signed a contract extension at Newcastle earlier this season which is understood to run until the summer of 2026. The Magpies clearly believe in the player’s potential and back him to become one of the few academy success stories of recent years.
With Anderson’s international future still up in the air, a decision will need to be made in the near future. Whether it’s Scotland or England, his progress at Newcastle will ultimately define his path and chances of future call-ups.
The decision to keep Anderson part of the first-team set-up this season has been vindicated as he has continued to progress behind the scenes while getting a decent taste of Premier League football.
But he’s approaching the age where he needs to be playing as much as possible at a good level. The possibility of European football for Newcastle next season would almost certainly benefit Anderson as Howe faces a decision to keep him around as a squad player or give him the chance to flourish once again on loan.
It's a choice that will be determined by the final dozen matches of the season and pre-season.
While there is uncertainty over Anderson’s short-term future, it’s up to the club to give the young star the best chance of shining at St James’ Park in the years to come.