Anthony Gordon mentor reveals key quality and how Everton laid foundation for Newcastle United switch

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Anthony Gordon has been a revelation for Newcastle United since his £40million switch from Everton

Former Everton academy chief David Unsworth has highlighted Anthony Gordon’s drive to be the best as his main asset.

Released by Liverpool as a junior, Gordon joined the Toffees aged 11 and broke into the senior ranks just five years later in the Europa League. It was not until Carlo Ancelotti’s tenure when the winger would make his Premier League bow and become a first-team regular.

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Gordon showed plenty of promise but turmoil at Goodison Park resulted in himself, as a local player, being vilified by supporters. Just weeks before his Newcastle United move, footage emerged of a baying mob barricading his car, hurling abuse at the youngster given the club’s poor form.

That proved the final straw on Merseyside as he pushed for a move to Newcastle, a team on the up following the Saudi-backed takeover. Speaking to The Athletic, ex-Everton chief Unsworth, who coached Gordon at reserve level, insisted the Toon talisman always aimed to be the best.

“The biggest thing for me was that he was always searching to go to the next level early,” Unsworth said. “At under-16s, he was desperate to get into the under-18s. As soon as he was in the under-18s, he was trying desperately to come with me (in the under-23s).

“As soon as he came with me, he was desperate to get into first-team training. That desire to get to the next level is something you can’t really instil in people. On the pitch, he was a match-winner.”

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However, Unsworth also revealed Gordon struggled for fitness during his formative years. The now 22-year-old admitted struggling to cope with Eddie Howe’s intensity after joining Newcastle but he is now thriving, scoring six goals and creating seven more this season.

“The biggest problem we had with him was his stamina,” Unsworth added. “He played a lot at left midfield, on the left of a three, but he would die on 60 minutes. He would look like he was being lazy and couldn’t get back but it wasn’t that. He had just emptied his tank because he put so much into the first hour.”

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