While 2021/22 has been a struggling season for Everton, it has proven to be a breakthrough year for Anthony Gordon. It was fitting then that the Blues’ homegrown talent produced a goal-scoring display that showcased another element of his rapidly developing game as the campaign drew to a close.
Gordon has been a bundle of energy and enterprise for club and country this year and although he has yet to break into Gareth Southgate’s senior national team, he has been a mainstay for the Under The 21-year-old from England under the watchful eye of head coach Lee Carsley, himself a former fan favorite at Goodison Park.
Friday night’s trip to Kosovo was Gordon’s seventh appearance for the Young Lions this season and, after being man of the match in the 3-0 win over Albania at Chesterfield three days earlier, a result that secured their place in the European Under-21 Championship final next summer in Romania and Georgia, Gordon was one of only three players to retain his place in the starting line-up as Carsley announced the changes.
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It speaks to the kind of pivotal role Gordon plays in the team that, despite having already clinched qualification and having already played so much football in recent months, he was again given the nod in Pristina, but with England already 3-0 down and another three safely before they were secured, he was taken off in the 56th minute, perhaps leaving the door open for him to feature again in the final group match against Slovenia at Huddersfield on Monday.
As well as being one of the key figures in Carsley’s squad, Gordon is one of the few players in the team who already play regularly in the English top flight. The likes of Arsenal’s Emile Smith Rowe, Aston Villa’s Jacob Ramsey and Norwich City’s Max Aarons also regularly showed up for their clubs, but it was Gordon who made the most Premier League appearances of any player. squad members in 2021/22 with 35 in total for Everton.
Indeed, he was the only Blues player to play 40 games in all competitions this season and clocked 3,108 minutes of football (almost 52 hours), which is good for a player that Rafael Benitez claimed he couldn’t finish. 90 minutes at the start of the season – an observation Gordon himself agreed with, admitting that physically he was a late developer and working hard on his fitness. Celebrating his 21st birthday on February 24, this is the year the boy grew into a man, both on and off the pitch.
On loan from Carlo Ancelotti at Preston North End for the second half of 2020/21, Gordon revealed in an interview with ECHO that his time in the Championship taught him how lucky he is to be in the Premier League , and he played as determined a role as anyone in the Everton squad to fend off the imminent threat of a first relegation for the club in 71 years. As well as becoming one of the first names on the team roster for Benitez and then Frank Lampard thanks to his work rate, Gordon has also added goals to his game.
It was with England Under-21 that he ducked his duck against the Czech Republic at Turf Moor in November and like the buses another soon followed as he finished the game with another. Curiously, the same happened when Gordon struck for the first time at club level on the 47th time after asking at home to Brighton & Hove Albion on January 2, while he also scored a brace against the Seagulls.
Gordon’s first strikes for England Under-21s and Everton both came via deflections – who cares – as did his winner against Manchester United, but his last goal was quite different from the previous seven . Everyone else had come with kicks, but here in Kosovo there was a classic centre-forward header as, attacking the edge of the six-yard box, he nodded with power and precision in the roof of Aaron’s net. right cross.
Regardless of the continued speculation over the future of the Blues’ number nine, the youngster won’t be taking on Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s role in the squad anytime soon, but there were certainly nuances to his already iconic goal against Crystal Palace of the way Gordon adamantly sent the occasion. Hopefully a few well-deserved weeks of rest now await the Scouser, allowing him to recharge his batteries ahead of what should be a season of improvement at Goodison Park, but this latest highlight is another special Gordon moment to whet the appetite. fans of what could lie when he returns to an Everton shirt in the coming months.