NEWCASTLE United head coach Eddie Howe admitted the likelihood is that Elliot Anderson will remain at the club beyond the transfer window but the club will make a final decision in the final days leading to the closure.

Anderson has been training with the first-team and has impressed the Newcastle coaching staff with his performances in pre-season friendlies. The 21-year-old produced a man of the match display this evening against Atalanta and won the match winning penalty at St James Park, which was dispatched by Chris Wood.

The expectation from the club’s view was that the midfielder was going to be sent out on loan again to further his development after playing a starring role in Bristol Rovers promotion from League Two but after his displays over the summer, Howe is seriously tempted to keep him.

He said: “Nothing is going to change on it. I’ll sit here and answer the questions. He’s performed really well but no decision on his future will be made until towards the end of the transfer window, probably the last few days.

“At the moment, it certainly looks like he is going to stay with us because of how he is performing. I thought he was very good. I thought he was good defensively today and tactically to understand his position. But also technically, in tight areas he has very quick feet.

“He did well for the penalty and he could have scored with another long range shot. For me, he’s got better and better in pre-season so very exciting.”

Anderson’s development into the first-team picture has been fast since his loan to Bristol in January. Howe was quick to labour the point that he spotted his potential when he first came to the club last November but needed to be a first-team regular elsewhere. He continued: “From my first days here, we could see that he was a quality player. I did think he needed games. Last year, we couldn’t give him that opportunity but from the loan he has benefitted hugely in several aspects of his game. He’s come back and looked a complete player.”

As for tonight’s performance, Newcastle gave another strong account of themselves against Champions League opposition after losing 3-2 to Benfica earlier in the week.

Speaking after the 1-0 win over Atalanta, Howe added: “Very pleased with tonight. I thought it was a high quality game.

“We picked our opponents for a really tough test, we didn’t want easy wins. Pre-season is about testing the players to the maximum of our abilities because there will be no shortage of quality when the season starts for real.

“It was really good opposition and I’ve got huge respect for their manager and the job that he has done. They are top quality teams so we knew we had to perform tonight. We had to be very good tactically and technically and I thought we were very good tactically first half.

Maybe not so good technically but I thought we were both in the second half until the changes where we tired and they had fresh legs and quality players come on. That was a really good ending because we needed to dig deep to see the game out.”

The Magpies return to action tomorrow on home soil when they host Atletico Bilbao in their final pre-season friendly of the summer. Their Premier League season kicks off against Nottingham Forest next weekend.