Eddie Howe reveals Anthony Gordon may start up front for Newcastle against Burnley with both Callum Wilson and Alexander Isak facing late fitness tests
- Anthony Gordon may be deployed as a striker when Newcastle host Burnley
- The former Everton star played up front for England under-21s this summer
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Eddie Howe says he would likely turn to Anthony Gordon if both of his strikers fail late fitness tests this weekend.
The Newcastle boss has also hinted at playing without a recognised frontman, much like Barcelona once did under Pep Guardiola when using Lionel Messi as a false nine.
Callum Wilson (hamstring) and Alexander Isak (calf) will be assessed ahead of Saturday’s visit of Burnley and, given they are the only strikers in the squad, Howe has been forced to consider other options.
‘Anthony Gordon has played as a striker for England (Under-21s) and has done very well – he would probably be the first in line, with Jacob Murphy who can also play the position,’ said the head coach.
‘We have Joelinton, who has played the role historically. He would play it slightly differently to the other players we have got. We also have the option of trying something quite different tactically.’
Eddie Howe revealed Anthony Gordon may be deployed as a striker as Newcastle host Burnley on Saturday
The Magpies boss is exploring his options with both Callum Wilson(left) and Alexander Isak facing late fitness tests
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The last statement was taken as a nod to operating without a centre-forward, although when Howe was pressed on what he meant, he said: ‘I don’t know, I haven’t thought of it yet!’
Howe has also confirmed that Harvey Barnes will be out until 2024 with a foot injury after the winger visited a specialist this week. Barnes suffered the injury during last Sunday’s 8-0 win at Sheffield United, and Howe said: ‘We think he’s going to be out for around three months. There is no surgery required, which is good news, but his foot is now in a boot.
‘It’s an injury underneath his toe. He’s started his recovery. I think he’ll be quite sedate for a period of time, he has to rest the toe, give it every chance to recover and then we’ll have to build him up slowly.’
Barnes only joined from Leicester for £38m in the summer, and Howe added: ‘It’s come at a shocking time for Harvey because he was just beginning to find his rhythm. He had a good pre-season and was getting to know his team-mates and what’s expected here.
Gordon played up front for Lee Carsley’s Young Lions as England won the Euro U21 tournament this summer
Meanwhile Howe lamented Harvey Barnes’ recent injury that will see the summer signing sidelined until 2024
‘With so many games coming up, to lose any player is a huge blow for us. We need the strength in depth and everything that Harvey was going to bring us – hopefully goals and making the final difference in the final third. We have to deal with it, accept it and wish him a speedy recovery.’
Meanwhile, Howe has spoken of his sadness at news of the felling of the iconic Sycamore Gap tree in Northumberland. A 16-year-old boy has now been arrested on suspicion of causing criminal damage.
Howe said: ‘I’m really, really sad that I wasn’t able to get there before what happened. I’m really saddened by it. I don’t quite know how to describe it. When I heard the news, I was just so disappointed that an act can ruin something that’s there for the pleasure of everybody and it’s such a beautiful thing. It’s very sad.’
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