Newcastle United

Newcastle United: Aaron Stokes endorses idea of Elliot Anderson starting season opener

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Journalist Aaron Stokes would like Elliot Anderson to start Newcastle United’s Premier League opener this weekend.

The 19-year-old has only ever played three minutes of Premier League football and his only other senior appearance for Newcastle came in the FA Cup. However, he has caught the eye in pre-season and could see himself featuring more regularly in the Magpies side in the forthcoming campaign.

Newcastle World journalist Jordan Cronin awarded the youngster a 9/10 match rating in the club’s friendly with Atalanta last Friday and dubbed him the ‘star of the show’, with Stokes now suggesting that he has shown he is at least deserving of a chance to prove his worth against Nottingham Forest.

Speaking on the Everything is Black and White podcast, he said: “I’m not against sending him out [on loan], but I would just love to see him get a proper chance.

“I just think, throw him in from the outset, first game of the season, you’ve got nothing to lose.

“If he plays like he did against Atalanta on Friday, there’s absolutely no issue with him starting against Forest, for me. He took the headlines again, as he has done all pre-season.

“Now, look, if you put a gun to my head and said, ‘who’s going to start?’ I think [Eddie Howe] would start Willock, but I would like to see Anderson in there.”

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The attacking midfielder enjoyed a fruitful spell out on loan at Bristol Rovers last term, scoring eight goals and providing five assists in just 21 matches.

He has also been directly involved in 19 goals in 32 appearances for Newcastle’s Under-23s, and while he is still unproven at Premier League level, there is still only one way to find out whether he is ready for regular top-level football.

Atalanta may have finished eighth in Serie A last year, but had previously recorded three successive years in third place and are no pushovers.

Even if Forest comes too soon for Anderson, his performance last week should be an indicator of the potential he has, and keeping him around the first team could be best for the teenager’s development. 

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