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Potent mix of pace, balance and desire makes Gordon a

Danny Murphy

ANTHONY GORDON’S success at Newcastle hasn’t surprised me. What I saw at Everton, particularly the season they stayed up under Frank Lampard, was a supertalented player with fire in his belly. We see plenty of players who don’t always have the heart that’s vital to go with the skills. Gordon isn’t one of those. He’s passionate and when others were questioning the £45million price tag that took him to Newcastle, I knew he’d be a big player.

Today’s opponents Spurs also wanted him in January last year — I bet they will be wary of seeing him lining up for the visitors.

At 22, Gordon has tremendous pace, great balance, can use either foot and is able to make and score goals. Oh, and he has an abundance of desire to work for the team. It’s a potent mix, making him a manager’s dream.

Where he is yet to prove himself is on the biggest stages: a Champions League knockout game or an international tournament. But those chances will come as Newcastle develop and he can play in the same kind of games as England rivals

Phil Foden, Jack Grealish and Marcus Rashford have done.

He will want to continue a recent improvement in his numbers, too. For wide players, better than a goal every three games is decent. Gordon has already equalled his best return for a season, six, so he is going in the right direction. The next step is to influence matches like Tottenham away.

He always plays with fire in the belly but against Champions League competitors is where the real players stand up. If you shine, people will notice and he has to make it count while a few of his England rivals haven’t been at it.

GARETH SOUTHGATE will have noted Gordon’s work ethic and the discipline he showed against Arsenal. Being a player who works hard off the ball is a prerequisite for an England call-up. And Gordon has an extra quality. He favours his right foot, but is good enough with either to be effective anywhere across the front line, as he showed helping England become European Under21 champions as a false nine.

With Harvey Barnes injured, he has played a lot on the left for Newcastle and can go outside to get crosses in. If you want to be a top wide forward, you need to be able to go both ways. Gordon has wonderful balance and can go past opponents effortlessly. There’s no fear in dribbling with his left if that’s what the situation requires.

What does it mean for the Euros?

Southgate can only take four or five wide forwards to Germany and there are at least nine contenders, including him: Foden, Grealish, Rashford, Jarrod Bowen, Bukayo Saka, Raheem Sterling, Cole Palmer and Mason Mount.

If the squad was announced today he would be in. The only question mark Southgate may have about him in June is that he’s not experienced that World Cup or Euros stage before and is relatively new to European club football. Grealish and Rashford haven’t been playing well, but Southgate doesn’t have to decide now — England don’t play again until the spring and the Euros are in the summer.

I’m sure Rashford and

Grealish’s form will improve, so Gordon has to improve as well. But he’s not far away from giving the England manager no choice but to take him. A fresh face often emerges for a summer tournament and this time it could be Gordon.

One incident last season said to me that he has the fire. After a disappointing start to his Newcastle career, he was substituted as a substitute against Brentford and waved his arms in displeasure at Eddie Howe’s decision. Criticism followed but I loved it. I wish I’d had the balls to do that.

It’s the Scouser in him — a young Jamie Carragher and Steven Gerrard were the same when I played with them at Liverpool. If they were taken off, they would give the manager some. It’s nothing personal to the manager but a pride in yourself. Gordon will have been brought up with that mentality.

Howe is right that you can’t do that your whole career, but for a youngster desperate to do well for the club who have put their faith in him and signed him, it was an understandable reaction.

The Newcastle fans watching will have thought he really cares. He’s harnessed that emotion in the right way since then — and despite an embarrassment of riches in attacking positions, Southgate would love to see Gordon continue his progress.

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