I brought Anthony Gordon to Everton - now I'd love it if he went to Liverpool

Newcastle United striker Anthony Gordon.
-Credit: (Image: Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images)

Anthony Gordon has been a name on the lips of many a Liverpool supporter following news of a possible sale from Newcastle United.

Gordon, a boyhood Liverpool fan, made his name across Stanley Park at Goodison Park after emerging through Everton’s Finch Farm production line. From the age of 11, he honed his skills nine miles outside of Liverpool, in the south of the city in Halewood, after being released by the Reds.

However, his path to playing for the Blues academy was by no means a simple one. As a youngster, Gordon suffered disappointment after he was allowed to leave Liverpool, with a little stint at Everton too.

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It wasn’t until the attacker caught the eye playing for Whiston Juniors in the St Helens League and a phone call from one scout to the then-head of academy recruitment Martin Waldron opened up the doors for the Liverpudlian.

"He was a young boy, very thin, not much weight but he was running at people, very technically good and could score from everywhere. He was just excellent," former Everton scout Ian Duke for the region tells the ECHO.

"I rang Martin (Waldron) saying, 'he’s bang at it, he needs to come in'. If I rung up about a player, Martin would always say, 'no problem, bring him in' and some of the coaches thought he wasn’t ready but with Martin seeing what I seen, he put him in with the first group and went on from strength to strength.”

Duke, who ran football teams in St Helens and was in charge of their schoolboys set-up, has passed on talents such as James Berry, now at Chesterfield, and Bobby Duncan - who would play for Manchester City and Liverpool’s youth set-ups until moving to Fiorentina.

The scout knew the area like the back of his hand, even running a team in the under-11s age-group. For a number of months, not many players stood out until a slim-framed youngster caught the eye.

Despite his slender build, Duke saw past that as Gordon’s raw ability shone through. He continues: "When I first saw him, he looked like Kes the footballer, he was just tiny and nothing on him. But you looked at him and thought he’d be a player and he was going to go on."

Anthony Gordon makes his debut during the UEFA Europa League Group E match between Apollon Limassol and Everton -Credit:Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images
Anthony Gordon makes his debut during the UEFA Europa League Group E match between Apollon Limassol and Everton -Credit:Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images

And despite his recommendation, there was still an element of pushback from coaches within Everton’s academy, Duke explains: "They weren’t up for it, he’d been there before and some of them just didn’t see it.

"Maybe at that age they can be nervous and need some time to settle into the group. It’s just opinion at the end of the day. He had me and Martin on his side, he got his chance at Everton, without Martin giving the thumbs up, he probably wouldn’t have been there."

Gordon rose through the age groups, making his under-18s debut for Kevin Sheedy’s side at 15 before a Premier League 2 debut as a 17-year-old under David Unsworth.

He joined the first team in their Europa League dead-rubber in Cyprus against Apollon Limassol. In the latter stages, Gordon would replace Kevin Mirallas for a cameo as Everton picked up their only win of the group stage campaign, a 3-0 victory.

It would have undoubtedly been an emotional night for Gordon’s family and everyone associated with the forward but in St Helens, the man that brought him to Everton was beaming with pride - as his bank account also received a boost.

"It was expected he would make his first-team debut, but not at 16, but he took a lot of teenagers over to play football," Duke continues.

"You get job satisfaction, it’s good to see you’re doing something right and you feel proud of it.

"I got a £1,000 when he got a scholarship, £1,000 when he made his first-team debut and if I stayed I’d be getting a lot more now."

Gordon’s Premier League debut came under Carlo Ancelotti, aged 18, where he would go on to make a further 77 appearances for Everton, scoring seven times before he moved to the North East signing for Eddie Howe’s Newcastle United.

At the Magpies, the 23-year-old has continued his development, going from strength to strength, as he became a first-team regular at St James’ Park winning the Player of the Season in 2024 and establishing himself on the international stage.

Duke was under no illusions that Newcastle’s front-foot approach and higher calibre of player would aid the development of the player he scouted a decade earlier.

He said: “When he went to Newcastle, I said he would definitely improve playing with better players, he’s proved his worth, and he’s been one of the better players in the Premier League.”

Newcastle’s approach to the Reds over the possibility of signing Gordon sparked surprise throughout the Premier League. The move broke down once the Magpies looked to receive Jarell Quansah in return, however Liverpool are admirers of the 23-year-old.

Gordon, who also credits Liverpool midfielder Curtis Jones as one of his friends in football, was tipped by Duke to exceed his England under-21 teammate. The former Everton scout revealed: "He was a hard worker and just stood out, he was head and shoulders above everyone else.

Anthony Gordon with Curtis Jones after England's under-21 triumph.
Anthony Gordon with Curtis Jones after England's under-21 triumph. -Credit:Photo by Giorgi Ebanoidze/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

"Curtis (Jones) plays in that age group and at that point, Curtis was way ahead in other people’s opinions but I said he’d go on and be better than Curtis."

Duke, who also supports Liverpool, hopes Gordon makes the move to Anfield and believes the Magpies star would only go on to improve.

"Especially being a Liverpool fan, I’d love him to go there and kick the door down," he says. "I think he’s one of the best players around.

"I think he would improve again coming to Liverpool, playing with a batch of better players, confidence but I think he wants it, he’s a Liverpool fan - there’s nothing better than playing for your boyhood team."