How Elliot Anderson can 'explode' for Nottingham Forest as expert provides transfer lowdown

Elliot Anderson has signed for Nottingham Forest from Newcastle United
-Credit: (Image: Getty)

Elliot Anderson has been backed to “explode” onto the scene for Nottingham Forest - if he can pin down his best position and regular football.

The midfielder became the Reds’ third signing of the summer when he made the move from Newcastle United in the early hours of Monday morning. He put pen to paper on a five-year contract as a deal worth in the region of £35 million was completed.

The versatility Anderson offers will be particularly useful for Forest head coach Nuno Espirito Santo, who likes to work with a small squad. The newcomer has the ability to operate as a No.8, a No.10 and out wide, but finding the role that suits him best could be the key to unlocking his potential.

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“I think he just needs to nail down his best position and he probably needs to improve his numbers in terms of goals and assists,” Sean McCormick from ChronicleLive told NottinghamshireLive. “The talent and potential is there and the thought for the last two years is that he is ready to explode if he is given a consistent run of games in one position. If Forest can do that, he will thrive.

“Anderson's pretty versatile, but it's maybe that versatility that saw him struggle to consistently nail down a regular position in the starting XI. He played either on the left-hand side of the midfield three or on the left-hand side of the front three and did pretty well in both positions.

“He is good with both feet, moves really well with the ball, is well balanced and has an abundance of energy. He could probably do with nailing down his best position to really thrive and fulfil his undoubted potential but he played his best football with Newcastle in a three-man midfield.”

Aged 21, Anderson still has plenty of room for growth. However, he arrives at the City Ground with a fair bit of experience already under his belt.

The Scotland Under-21 international came up through the ranks at St James’ Park, having been on the club’s books since he was eight years old. He left the north east having made 55 appearances for Newcastle, with 44 of those in the Premier League. But will the big transfer fee prove to be a weight on his shoulders?

“No, I don't think so,” said McCormick. “Given the hype around him, he could have easily folded under the pressure when he was introduced to the (Newcastle) first-team. But every time he was given the opportunity he looked extremely at home and has remained unflustered amid all the noise. It is obviously a big fee for a 21-year-old but I think Newcastle fans would expect Anderson to take that in his stride.”

Perhaps in an indication Forest have got themselves a good signing, Newcastle supporters certainly seem sad to see Anderson go. Former Magpies goalkeeper Shay Given has described it as a “big loss” to the club.

Financial pressure certainly played a part in the Reds securing the player’s signature. Newcastle needed to raise funds before the end of June to comply with Profitability and Sustainability Rules.

“Newcastle reluctantly sanctioned his sale and it's fair to say if they did not need to trade to comply with Profitability and Sustainability Rules there is a good chance this transfer wouldn't have gone through,” McCormick explained. “Anderson has long been heralded as one of the best talents Newcastle's academy have produced in recent years and there was huge hype about him after a highly successful loan spell at Bristol Rovers. Anderson inspired them to promotion from League Two and his performances in the south west saw their fans dub him the 'Geordie Maradona'.

“He has been in and around the first team in recent years and showed flashes of his potential. He ended last season really strongly and there was a feeling he was ready to compete for a regular first-team berth. It's never nice seeing 'one of their own' go, so fans were naturally upset to see him leave.

“That being said, Lewis Miley's emergence last season means Newcastle would have had seven midfielders competing for three positions and the reality is that one of those players would likely be sold as Newcastle tried to deal with their PSR woes. In the end, Anderson was the unlucky one to be sacrificed.”

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