Joey Barton makes bold Newcastle United claim about Elliot Anderson

Joey Barton believes Elliot Anderson can be a first-team player at his parent club Newcastle United.

Bristol Rovers manager Joey Barton believes that Elliot Anderson can become a ‘major’ player for Newcastle United ‘with the correct guidance’.

The 19-year-old returned to the Magpies this week and was applauded by his peers for his loan move as he took part in a training session, after returning from a holiday in Dubai.

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Anderson, who had been knocking on the door of Newcastle’s first-team before his move to the Memorial Stadium, played a key role in Rovers’ promotion to League One.

After excelling in his first loan move away from the North East, Anderson’s next task will be to break into Newcastle’s first-team.

The teenager is unable to play in their final game of the season against relegation-threatened Burnley, but will be given a chance over the summer months to force his way into Eddie Howe’s plans.

“I think Elliot is capable of getting in Newcastle’s first team this summer,” said the 39-year-old after appearing on BBC Radio Bristol

“I think if Eddie Howe plays him in some of the pre-season games, he’s a much better player than I was.

“He’s got a real chance of becoming a major player in Newcastle’s first team with the correct guidance in the next period, and what better club can you be at in English football at the minute.”

Anderson’s move to Rovers was somewhat of Rovers spinning a few plates on deadline day and landing on him.

There had been interest in Fleetwood Town’s Callum Camps and Liam Sercombe of Cheltenham Town, but they were rebuffed on both players.

Instead, Anderson, who Barton described as a ‘Plan B’ became the central midfielder he craved.

But the Rovers boss had to be persuaded by his former Newcastle teammate Shola Ameobi to take on an untried youngster at the time.

Revealing the initial discussions, he said: He was like ‘Look, we’ve got this young kid who needs a loan, he’s desperate. He’s been training with the first team. You’ll love him’.

“I said ‘Shols, it’s his first loan, it’s tough coming into League Two on a first loan’, and he’s gone ‘No, no, all day he is right up your street’. I then had that verified by Newcastle’s academy manager Steve Harper who was the goalie when we won the Championship.

“It’s about good relationships. You’re trading on fantastic working relationships with people who know you and the type of people who work well with you and the type of people who don’t work so well with you.

“I am fortunate in that Eddie and the guys at the club filter a list down and then your contacts within the game filter a list down. They tend to give you some good information that helps you get your hands on good players like Elliot, who was an incredible signing for us in the January period.”

Howe plans to keep Anderson at the club for at least the beginning of pre-season before making a decision on whether to keep him or loan him out again.

More than half of the Championship have been attributed with interest in the talented youngster, whilst Rovers’ League One rivals Sheffield Wednesday have also emerged as contenders.

There is a desire from Rovers to try and persuade Newcastle to allow him to stay for a season following the success of his time at the West Country, but that will be dependent on how they spend in the summer.

Already they have the likes of established midfielders Joe Willock, Jonjo Shelvey, Bruno Guimarães and Joelinton in their midfield, and that is before any expensive summer signings that the club could make following their Middle East cash injection.

As well as Anderson, there were other loan stars at the Mem including James Connolly, Connor Taylor and Luke Thomas, who all played their part this campaign.

He said: “I would love all of them back, they were superb, every single one of them, even young Spenno (Sion Spence).

“We would want to take them all, but they are somebody else’s players and they kindly loan them to you. I am incredibly grateful to Stoke, Newcastle, Barnsley and Cardiff for loaning us their young players and trusting us with their development. If they came available, you would love to have a conversation with them.”