Eddie Howe admits he might have considered Elliot Anderson for Newcastle United’s remaining Premier League fixtures following the end of his hugely successful loan spell at Bristol Rovers.
The 19-year-old arrives back on Tyneside having written his name in Gas folklore after his goal clinched automatic promotion from League Two in the most dramatic of circumstances.
Joey Barton’s side needed to win 7-0, and that’s exactly what they did, with Anderson’s crucial goal on 85 minutes his eighth in total after joining on January transfer deadline day.
With Rovers’ season over, and United still having Arsenal and Burnley to play, Magpies fans wondered if Anderson was able to feature in the club’s two remaining fixtures.
Would Howe have selected Anderson - if eligible?
NewcastleWorld put that question to the Premier League - and they answered that Anderson is NOT eligible.
Their guidance read: “Other than the early recall of a goalkeeper in exceptional circumstances, no other player will be permitted to return outside of a window and play first team football.”
Given United are a little short of bodies in central midfield with Joe Willock (knee) and Jonjo Shelvey (calf) ruled out for the season, a runout for Anderson might have happened.
Howe, asked if Anderson would have been considered if eligible, said: “Yeah potentially, if he was available.
“It would have been very good timing for us with the injuries we’ve got in that position but it wasn’t to be.”
Pre-season is Anderson’s chance to shine
Instead, Anderson will be given his chance to shine in pre-season before Howe decides on the Scotland under-21s international next steps.
Clubs in the Championship have already registered their interest in taking Anderson on loan for next season.
The Magpies head coach revealed: “We’ll certainly bring him back for pre-season and have a closer look at him. He’ll be involved in the pre-season games.
“We’ll make a decision then on whether or not he needs another loan or stays with us.”
On Anderson’s Bristol Rovers loan spell, where he made 21 appearances in total and helped the Gas move from 12th to third in League Two, Howe added: “(I’m) very pleased for him. He was desperate to go and play and have that experience on loan.
“I’ve said many times, I didn’t necessarily want to pitch him to League Two, we felt he was better than that level but due to one reason or another, that’s the level he ended up at. He’s excelled.
“It’s very difficult as a young player to go out and really make a difference but he’s not just done that, he’s made an incredible difference to Bristol Rovers.
“It was a dramatic final day and full credit to Joey, his team and to Elliot. What an experience for him, one he’ll always remember I’m sure and something he’ll look back on fondly at the end of hopefully a very successful career.”