Newcastle United star gives Eddie Howe a selection dilemma after impressive 15-touch performance
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The 21-year-old was always unlikely to start the game following his £40million move from Everton last week as he was named on the bench by Newcastle head coach Eddie Howe with Allan Saint-Maximin making his first start since August on the left wing. But after Callum Wilson’s early opener, The Magpies lacked conviction going forward as West Ham got back into the game and equalised through Lucas Paqueta.
Gordon’s previous match at St James's Park saw him clash with his future United team-mates while playing for Everton. Newcastle defender Fabian Schar even suggested upon meeting the new signing that he would have to earn the respect of the squad.
And within moments of his 68th minute introduction in place of Saint-Maximin, Gordon had already impressed his team-mates and the home crowd. His first touch of the ball was crisp as he quickly turned and played a one-two with Joelinton in a swift move that resulted in a Newcastle corner.
The positive passage of play reinvigorated the home crowd and helped Newcastle get back on the front foot for the final 20 minutes of the match. The energy Gordon injected into the game was palpable as every time he received the ball he was positive and forward thinking.
Given Everton have struggled with their link-up play this season, the 21-year-old’s ability to seamlessly combine with his new team-mates was particularly encouraging so early into his Newcastle career.
The way he almost grabbed the game by the scruff of its neck in just 15 touches of the ball after coming on was impressive, especially for a 21-year-old.
In just over 20 minutes on the pitch, Gordon arguably contributed more in an attacking sense than fellow wingers Miguel Almiron or Allan Saint-Maximin did while on the pitch on Saturday evening.
The youngster hit a shot wide and ultimately couldn’t help Newcastle secure the win but his promising cameo display in the closing stages of the 1-1 draw gained plenty of plaudits – including the United head coach.
“Very pleased,” Howe said when asked about Gordon’s debut following the match. “First actions here at St James’s Park is important, and his first pass was a brilliant one, he injected some life into us at a time when we needed it in the game.
"Disappointed for him that we couldn’t get him in the box, and see what he can do closer to goal, but he did really well when he came on.
“What he delivered was very bright. I'm really pleased. I was hoping for a goal or assist, but overall, very good."
Gordon will be hoping to build on his debut display when Newcastle travel to Bournemouth next Saturday (5:30pm kick-off) looking to get back to winning ways. And the winger has certainly given Howe some food for thought when it comes to his team selection at the Vitality Stadium.