Joey Barton makes Diego Maradona comparisons as Newcastle United kid Elliot Anderson lights up League Two

Elliot Anderson has been lighting up League Two - and has drawn some lofty comparisons from Joey Barton.

<p>Elliot Anderson has been one of the key forces behind Bristol Rovers’ ascension. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)</p>

Elliot Anderson has been one of the key forces behind Bristol Rovers’ ascension. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Bristol Rovers manager Joey Barton has hailed on-loan Newcastle United youngster Elliot Anderson and compared the Magpies prospect to Argentina legend Diego Maradona.

Anderson landed the first loan move of his career in the final hours of the January transfer window when he joined the League Two club until the end of the season after showing plenty of promise in the youth ranks on Tyneside.

Former United star Barton handed Anderson a first start in a 2-1 defeat at Oldham Athletic and the youngster notched a first senior goal on his fifth appearance for the Gas in a 4-0 win at Stevenage.

The 19-year-old has continued to impress and he scored a stunning solo effort in Saturday’s home win against Harrogate Town before grabbing the only goal of Tuesday night’s win against Colchester United.

After the game, the Rovers boss described Anderson as “a huge talent” and praised the youngster for the attitude and ability he has shown since he agreed to join Rovers for the remainder of the campaign.

“I’ve been listening to Bill Shankly tapes a lot today,” explained Barton.

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“He talked a lot about a 19-year-old Diego Maradona and how he slows down in the penalty area, exactly like Elliot Anderson does. Such a talent.

“Elliot has been brilliant for us from the first day we brought him in. I would have paid to watch him tonight - he was that good. He is growing into the shirt and his goal capped an outstanding performance.

“Elliot is a huge talent. He excites you and tonight he showed a different gear to be the stand-out player on the pitch.

“That was our most difficult game of the season. They had a game plan to be condensed in central areas and catch us on the break.”

Anderson will hope to continue his fine form when Rovers visit fellow promotion contenders Northampton Town this weekend.