Anderson question, Newcastle midfield hint and Zapata performance - 5 things
Newcastle United beat Serie A side Atalanta 1-0 under the lights at St. James' Park on Friday evening in the first of their pre-season double header this weekend.
Chris Wood's first-half penalty was enough for the Magpies to seal a win, as 40,596 fans packed into the ground to witness the well-earned victory.
Here are five things we learned from the first of Newcastle's back-to-back matches.
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It's no wonder Bristol Rovers achieved promotion last season when they had Elliot Anderson in their ranks. The Newcastle midfielder started from the outset against Champions League Atalanta and once again did not look out of place.
Driving at the Italian defence, Anderson looked a huge threat throughout and was decisive in the 1-0 win. Winning the penalty in the first-half and causing goalkeeper Marco Sportiello problems in the second, it was a brilliant night for the 19-year-old.
The question may soon change from 'should he stay?' to 'should he start?'.
Eddie Howe named a mixed side as he saves some of his best attacking talent for tomorrow's clash with Athletic Bilbao.
Howe picked a very strong defence, with only Sven Botman likely to be added come the first game of the season. With that being said, it's likely the Magpies boss may be looking to use his ideal midfield three for the opening weekend against Bilbao on Saturday.
Sean Longstaff, Elliot Anderson and Miguel Almiron occupied the three midfield spots tonight but it's likely we'll see Joelinton, Bruno Guimaraes and Joe Willock in action together in the second friendly, and possibly against Nottingham Forest too.
Duvan Zapata continues to be linked with a move to Newcastle this summer - mainly by Italian media. The Colombian forward was in action for Atalanta on Friday as Toon bosses got to take a closer look at the 31-year-old.
The Atalanta number 91 went close in the first-half, fizzing a well struck effort towards goal after holding off Big Dan Burn. Nick Pope tipped the effort over the bar with a good save.
It was a quieter second-half for the striker before he was substituted in the 78th-minute. Newcastle are in the market for another attacking option but did Zapata do enough to catch the eye of those watching?
Over 40,000 Newcastle supporters attended the first of the two pre-season friendlies at St. James' Park. Wor Flags worked their magic once again in the stands and fans were in good voice throughout the tie.
The demand for tickets this season is going to be astronomical and the fact so many supporters forked out for a pre-season game shows just how difficult it is going to be for non-season ticket holders to get to see the team in action this campaign.
Only Matty Longstaff, Dylan Stephenson and Matthew Bondswell came off the bench for Newcastle United this evening but it was very positive to see so many other youngsters among the substitutes for tonight's clash.
Lucas De Boole, Santiago Munoz, Jay Turner-Cooke, Alex Murphy and Lewis Miley were also involved in the matchday squad and given the chance to experience a St. James' Park matchday.
Newcastle are putting a huge emphasis on youth this season, nurturing the young players at their disposal, as well as signing top teenagers from other British clubs. Very promising.
Eddie Howe admits Elliot Anderson is on course to stay at Newcastle United
Newcastle earn slender but respectable Atalanta win thanks to Wood's penalty