It’s easy to forget that it’s been less than a year since Anthony Gordon had a confrontation with Everton fans.
It feels like a lifetime since the winger was slap bang in the middle of a relegation scrap with his boyhood club.
Now 22, Gordon is thriving with Newcastle, playing at the opposite end of the Premier League table and trying his hand in the Champions League, too.
But not everyone thought the former Toffees starlet would, or wanted him to, fly high with the Magpies when he signed for them in January.
Everton friend to foe
Following his release from Liverpool, Gordon joined Everton as an 11-year-old.
He made his debut in 2017 in the Europa League and his Premier League debut in 2020, going on to win the club’s Young Player of the Year award for the 2021/22 season after helping them stay up.
But Gordon was unable to keep that glowing reputation as the Toffees following season fell into disrepair.
Everton fans created a roadblock to castigate Gordon after a 2-1 defeat to Southampton, which marked the club’s fifth loss in six games.
Some 14 days later, Gordon was a Newcastle player after submitting a formal transfer request to the Toffees.
He said: “I don’t like the way he’s behaved towards Everton Football Club.
“I can understand that everybody, like rats wants to desert a sinking ship, but you’re supposed to help that football club, not disadvantage it by your behaviour.
“I hope he gets what he deserves and he reaps what he sows.”
Toon teething issues
Gordon was eased into Eddie Howe‘s Premier League squad, being introduced as a second-half substitute for most of their fixtures in the remainder of the season.
However, he made the headlines for the wrong reasons when he reacted angrily to Eddie Howe bringing him on in the second-half of the 2-1 win at Brentford, only to take him off in added time due to him wanting to manage his ankle injury.
“He’s fiercely determined to do well and achieve,” Howe said after the match. “It is one of his hallmarks, it’s one of his strengths.”
Coming on late in the dying moments in the 4-1 win over his former club at Goodison a few weeks later marked another controversy, as Toffees fans fumed at clips of their former starlet celebrating wildly despite his new side putting another nail in their relegation coffin – which they ultimately avoided.
But despite Gordon’s minimal contribution to that win, he’s now a totally different beast.
Flying high with the Magpies
Scoring his first Newcastle goal in a 1-1 on the final day of last season against Chelsea was a sign of what was to come from the youngster.
After being named Player of The Tournament at the Under-21 Euros this summer as he helped England to lift the trophy, Gordon has brought that form into his club football, too.
This season he’s banged in six goals and recorded five assists in the Premier League, as well as starting four out of five Champions League games.
It’s no wonder he’s now being tipped to be called up to England’s senior team.
And this weekend, he returns to the club he made his breakthrough with, where he’ll no doubt be hoping to carry on his fine form.
What a difference a year makes.