Newcastle United's player of the season is obvious - so why is there no national recognition?

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There are a number of Magpies that have impressed during a challenging season at St. James’ Park.

There are no greater feelings in football than when that special player receives a pass and a buzz of excitement and anticipation envelopes supporters around the stadium.

The thought of what could be, the prospect of another magical moment playing out in front of you, the possibilities of what is about to happen seeming endless. I remember the first time I truly witnessed that at a live game and the modern day equivalent is still being played out on the same patch of grass at the same stadium.

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My early years watching Newcastle United alongside my Dad were largely full of toil and trouble as several of the Magpies major stars were sold off and heroes were allowed to depart for pastures new. Waddle, Beardsley, Gascoigne, all big names made in the black and white before finding success elsewhere. One came back and still to this day, he is the best player I’ve had the pleasure of watching in person in a black and white shirt. Ah yes, the buzz, the anticipation, the belief something magical could and probably will happen as Beardsley collects a pass and lines up another hapless opponent to fall victim to the most basic of shuffles.

The same feelings emerged when David Ginola was at his devastating best during his two-year stint at St. James’ Park and there seems to be a similar energy surrounding Anthony Gordon these days. That is not to suggest the in-form Magpies forward has hit anywhere near the levels reached by some of his predecessors, but, on current form, there is no doubt the former Everton winger has everything in his locker to become something very, very special.

It would be no bold claim to suggest Magpies supporters were a little puzzled and perhaps intrigued as to why their club paid out over £40m to land a player that had, at times, flattered to deceive during his time at Goodison Park. After all, in 78 appearances for his boyhood club, Gordon had scored just seven goals and provided eight assists. Perhaps matters were made worse for Gordon by the fact he was seen as a long-term replacement for the popular Allan Saint-Maximin, who was a rare shining light in what had previously been a dark time for the St. James’ Park faithful.

Settling in was no easy feat for Gordon as he seemed to struggle to adapt to the levels demanded by Eddie Howe - but there was a moment of promise on the final day of his first half-season on Tyneside as he scored his first goal for the club in a 1-1 draw at Chelsea. That was the precursor for a pivotal summer as Gordon led England to the European Under-21s Championship Final win against Spain, landing the player of the tournament award in the process.

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Out of any of Newcastle's "big" players, Gordon is the one expected to stay pit the most. He has been come of age this season.Out of any of Newcastle's "big" players, Gordon is the one expected to stay pit the most. He has been come of age this season.
Out of any of Newcastle's "big" players, Gordon is the one expected to stay pit the most. He has been come of age this season.

What emerged from that was a much-changed player, brimming with self-belief and confidence and a new found mentality that has delivered with regularity throughout a season that has thrown many challenges the way of his team-mates. The tone was set on the opening day of the season when Gordon created a goal for new signing Sandro Tonali in a 5-1 demolition of Aston Villa. Since that day, when the buzz met Gordon’s every touch, the affable Scouser has become a true favourite with the St. James’ Park faithful as his energy, enthusiasm, commitment and ability has become the hallmarks of every matchday.

The statistics are played out in clear sight with 11 goals and 11 assists in 46 appearances in all competitions - but stats only tell half of the story when it comes to Gordon’s impact on this Newcastle side. Just ask a team-mate - speaking in March after the Magpies forward received a maiden call-up to the England squad, Bruno Guimaraes described Gordon as ‘amazing’ and Eddie Howe admitted he had ‘a huge feeling of pride’ when the United star made his Three Lions bow. Magpies legend Alan Shearer and former England star Gary Lineker have both stated Gordon should be in Gareth Southgate’s Euro 2024 Finals squad - and their stance is not to be questioned given the level of consistency he has reached this season.

In the space of just under 18 months, Gordon has been transformed from a potential star to one of the most exciting and productive wingers in the Premier League - yet somehow, his name was absent from a list of candidates for the Premier League’s Young Player of the Year. That is not to cast doubt on the impressive achievements of those that did make the grade - but Gordon’s progress, end product and consistency surely mean he should be on a list of the eight best players under the age of 23.

Anthony Gordon impressed on his England debut at the weekendAnthony Gordon impressed on his England debut at the weekend
Anthony Gordon impressed on his England debut at the weekend

Having witnessed his recent interview with Gary Neville on the excellent ‘The Overlap’ podcast, we can safely assume this will have made little impact on Gordon himself. It would be a surprise if the decision was even on his radar and even if it was, it would simply be used as added motivation to prove any doubters wrong and continuing the upwards trajectory that has forced him into becoming a leading light with club and hopefully country.

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