ELLIOT ANDERSON will return to the Newcastle United squad at the start of pre-season – and will be given a chance to prove he should be part of Eddie Howe’s first-team plans next term.

Anderson hit the national headlines last weekend as his last-gasp goal completed Bristol Rovers’ 7-0 win over Scunthorpe and enabled Joey Barton’s side to celebrate a remarkable final-day turnaround that saw them promoted ahead of Northampton Town.

The 19-year-old joined Rovers on loan at the end of January, and ended the season having scored eight goals in 20 league starts.

Barton has already confirmed Rovers would like to re-sign the teenager next season, and a number of Championship clubs are also understood to have contacted Newcastle officials to outline their interest in setting up a temporary deal.

Howe might well conclude that another loan spell is in Anderson’s best interests, but for now, he is minded to give the youngster a chance to impress alongside the rest of the Magpies’ senior players later this summer.

Newcastle are close to confirming a pre-season tour of the United States, and the plan at the minute is for Anderson to be part of the group that will travel Stateside.

“We’ll certainly bring him back for pre-season,” said Howe. “We’ll have a close look at him, and he’ll be involved in the pre-season games. We’ll make a decision then on whether he needs another loan, or whether he’s going to stay with us.”

Anderson’s two senior appearances for Newcastle both came against Arsenal at the start of 2021, with the youngster coming off the bench under Steve Bruce to face the Gunners in both the Premier League and FA Cup.

He played for the Under-21s at the start of this season, but was sent to Bristol Rovers’ Memorial Ground to get his first meaningful taste of senior football. To Howe’s delight, he grasped it with both hands.

“We’re very pleased for him,” said the Magpies boss. “He was desperate to go and play, and have that experience on loan. I’ve said many times that we didn’t really want to pitch him into League Two. We felt that maybe he was better than that level, but due to one reason or another, that’s the level he ended up at.

“He’s excelled. As a young player, it can be very difficult to go out and make a difference, but he’s not just done that, I think he’s made an incredible difference to Bristol Rovers. It was a dramatic final day, and full credit to Joey and his team, and to Elliot, what an experience for him. It’s certainly one he’ll remember and look back on fondly, hopefully at the end of a very successful career.”