Anthony Gordon was one of Newcastle United’s standout performers against Aston Villa, but it was not all about his attacking exploits on Saturday.

The 22-year-old got the nod to start on the left of attack, with Eddie Howe selecting him ahead of Harvey Barnes. That was despite the fact the summer signing scored a wonderful brace just days earlier in a friendly against Villarreal.

Gordon got the nod, and massively justified his selection. He was absolutely superb, and received praise from Toon legend Alan Shearer for his efforts.

It was his cross that led to Newcastle taking the lead. A perfect ball in with his left foot allowed Sandro Tonali to net his first goal for the club, and it was also Gordon‘s first competitive assist in Toon colours.

He nearly had a second just moments later, as he played Tonali through on goal. Sadly, the Italian was unable to find a way passed Emi Martinez on this occasion.

Newcastle United v Aston Villa - Premier League
Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images

Gordon was at the heart of everything good about Newcastle’s attack, and also played a role in the Magpies’ third goal of the game, which was expertly scored by Alexander Isak.

Howe will have been really pleased with how Gordon performed, but it was not just his attacking exploits that allowed him to catch the eye.

Anthony Gordon’s incredible work ethic during Newcastle win

The club have released a wonderful clip on Twitter of Gordon during the first half of the 5-1 win over Aston Villa.

A stray pass from Miguel Almiron had allowed Villa to break, and they looked nailed on to score with Moussa Diaby racing through on goal.

However, Gordon showed real speed, determination and awareness to deny the Frenchman. He did enough to force a weak effort from Diaby, which was easily saved by Nick Pope.

This was just one of many defensive contributions from the Scouser. He did a brilliant job of protecting Dan Burn, which is exactly what Howe wants from his wingers.

Newcastle United v Aston Villa - Premier League
Photo: by Michael Driver/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Allan Saint-Maximin was untouchable in attack, but struggled to fit in with Howe’s intense style. To play on the wing in his team, you need to be good offensively and defensively.

While Maxi was not that, Gordon is. That is why he has taken his place on the left wing, and why he is really becoming a fan favourite at St James’ Park.

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