THE “Geordie Maradona” upstaged over £125million of new talent to show Eddie Howe that he is ready to shine for Newcastle next season.
Elliot Anderson, 20, recovered from a shocking early miss to drag Toon back from 2-0 down to 2-2 against Aston Villa in a reminder to Magpies boss Eddie Howe that he is more than good enough to play a starring role in the Tyneside revolution.
Emi Buendia was the standout for Villa in Philadelphia, bagging an assist and two goals in an entertaining 3-3 draw.
Anderson, quickly emerging as the star of Newcastle’s pre-season, only played 45 minutes but scored one and created another.
Despite expensive signings on both sides like Pau Torres, Sandro Tonali and Harvey Barnes – who played 20 minutes just hours after completing his £38million move from Leicester – on show, it was the Newcastle academy midfielder who stood out.
It was a nightmare start as he completely missed the ball with the goal gaping after Ollie Watkins’ opener following Buendia’s assist.
The Argentinean continued his blistering start by firing in at the near post off his left peg to put Villa 2-0 up inside 11 minutes.
Newcastle have stuck religiously to 4-3-3 under Howe but the Toon manager trialled 3-4-2-1 here – and they were all at sea early on, cut to shreds at will by the rampant Brummies.
Yet with 28 minutes gone it was 2-1 thanks to Anderson, making amends for his early howler by latching onto Jacob Murphy’s floated through ball, cutting inside Ezri Konsa’s despairing dive and coolly slotting past Emi Martinez.
And Newcastle drew level on the verge of half-time via Alexander Isak, but it was down to the brilliant work of that man Anderson again.
First he robbed Boubacar Kamara in midfield before driving past Matty Cash into the box.
Anderson, who started two Prem games last year having spent the season before on loan at Bristol Rovers, then had Konsa on toast again with Maritinez parrying his effort before Isak fired home.
Buendia’s tap-in made it 3-2 soon after the break before sub Callum Wilson levelled up again with a simple finish into an empty net.
Villa new boy Moussa Diaby was at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field but was not included in the squad, with fellow recent arrivals Youri Tielemans and Pau Torres subs.