Anderson "proud" to sign first pro deal with boyhood club
Written by Luke Vinton
It was a week to remember for Elliot Anderson as the teenage midfielder signed his first professional contract with Newcastle United along with celebrating his 17th birthday.
Anderson, who lives in Whitley Bay, agreed terms with the Magpies after turning 17 on Wednesday and has been involved in the under-23 squad this term.
Also a representative for Scotland at under-18 level, Anderson - who joined United's Academy at the age of eight - was delighted to seal his first professional deal alongside his family in the boardroom at St. James' Park.
"I'm delighted to be signing a professional contract with Newcastle United," the teenager told nufc.co.uk. "It's what I've dreamt of since I was a little kid joining the Academy. It's a really proud moment for me and my family as it's our hometown club and a team we all support.
"So far, I've had some fantastic coaches at Newcastle who have helped me progress as a player and given me the chance to show what I can do.
"My parents have taken me to every training session and always stayed to watch me play in games, which I take for granted and my brothers taught me to kick a ball in the garden and have always supported me throughout my time at the Academy.
"I also played for Wallsend Boys Club before joining Newcastle United at under-nine level so I'd like to thank them as well as all of my family for helping me along the way."
Anderson's grandfather, Geoff Allen, also played for the Magpies as a winger during the 1960s and was part of the famous squad which lifted the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1969, with Anderson regarding his grandfather as "inspiring" and aims to "follow in his footsteps."
Anderson is the joint-top goalscorer for Newcastle's under-18 side this term and has made five appearances for United's second-string, making his debut for the under-23 squad in the Leasing.com Trophy against League Two outfit Macclesfield Town at the tender age of 16.
"I was quite nervous when I was called to come on as a substitute but I was also confident that I could do well," Anderson explained. "It was such a big jump from under-18 level to playing against senior opposition. It also gave me a lot of experience against the pros.
"Playing for the under-23s is much harder compared to the under-18s. The intensity is much higher and the physical side of the game is tougher. I'm working hard in the gym to give me the best chance possible against the older players.
"I've learnt you have to move the ball very quickly and know what to do before you get it as well as not giving it away as it's harder to get the ball back."
As well as trying to secure a regular spot in the under-23 squad, the attacking midfielder has set high targets for himself but is confident of achieving them after a positive start to his campaign.
"I've set a target of 15 goals this season with the under-18s so hopefully I can achieve that. I also have areas of the game to work on and become a better player. It's very physical when I step up and I think I am getting used to it well.
"This season, so far, I have scored four goals in the under-18 Premier League along with six assists. In my opinion, I think that's a good stat for a midfielder.
"My main strengths as a player are passing and running with the ball. I'm an attacking midfielder and I think I have a good awareness to find the front three and create chances for the team."
The North Shields-born teenager's impressive performances at under-18 level for the Magpies warranted an international call-up for Anderson in September, where he played three games in Turkey for the under-18s, this after gaining four caps for the under-17s last term.
"Another target is I'm also pushing to be in the Scotland squad whenever there is games," he added. "I've recently been to Turkey with the under-18 squad and played well, getting man of the match in the second game so hopefully I can get more opportunities like those.
"Playing at international level for Scotland has helped me a lot as you see different ways of playing from club football. It's a good chance to adapt to different styles and getting to know the players on the pitch.
"It also gives me a lot of confidence as I've played at under-16, under-17 and under-18 level. It's a decent bit of experience which I can take back to the club.
Anderson was a key part of United's under-18 side which reached the SuperCupNI final - formerly known as the Milk Cup - after the young Magpies scored 17 goals in five matches across the five-day competition.
The youngster, who scored in United's second group game against Hull City, admitted he learnt a great deal from the youth tournament in Northern Ireland.
"It was a great experience," the 17-year-old said. "The team went to the Super Cup and I loved every minute of it! We performed very well in every game and the team had a good relationship with each other which helped a lot.
"We had to play a game everyday and we needed every single player to put a shift in and we can say everyone did. It was a shame to get beat in the final against Valencia after going one-nil up but we now have the experience and we will learn from it."
"I'm delighted to be signing a professional contract with Newcastle United. It's what I've dreamt of since I was a little kid joining the Academy. It's a really proud moment for me and my family as it's our hometown club and a team we all support."