Marco Silva says “high-quality” attacker Anthony Gordon is “really close” to breaking into Everton’s first-team squad.
England Under-19 player Gordon has been in dazzling form for Everton’s unbeaten Under-23s side this term after featuring for the senior team in pre-season.
A graduate of Everton’s acclaimed Academy after joining the Club aged 11, Gordon was consistently involved in the Blues’ Premier League 2 wining side last term.
He has shifted up another gear this season, maturing into a key member of David Unsworth’s team and contributing directly to eight goals in as many games. Gordon, though, is doing his daily work with Silva's first-team group.
“He is really close [to a first-team call], I will tell you, unfortunately for him maybe it is the position on the pitch where we have most quality, where competition is hardest,” said Silva.
“He can play in the three positions in our attack line, more or less the same profile as Richarlison, who can play left, right, or behind the striker.
“Or even alone up front.
“Since we took Anthony to work with the first team every single day, I am always seeing improvements.
“Even in the moments when he does not do all the session with the team, he is always aware of everything, trying to learn every time.
“Even when he stays with one of my staff, doing something individual, he is always trying to improve.
“You can see the results because he has quality.
“He is the player [from the Academy and Under-23s] since I joined Everton who is closest to reaching the first team.”
Gordon was in sparkling touch as Everton beat a full-strength Burton Albion on Tuesday, slicing open the League One side with a pass which released Ellis Simms to open the scoring in the Blues' 2-0 win.
The teenager, who made his lone first-team appearance as a 16-year-old substitute against Apollon Limassol in December 2017, twice scored brilliantly in a 2-2 draw with Arsenal Under-23s back in August.
He hit a double in his next game, too, as the young Blues demolished Southampton 8-2. Arguably the pick of his strikes this season came in Everton's Leasing.com Trophy game against Mansfield Town, the 18-year-old evading a succession of challenges before bending in a crisp finish from 20 yards.
Gordon added another in Everton’s 2-1 success at Brighton & Hove Albion a fortnight ago. Last week, it was his slaloming run from an unpromising starting position and eventual thundering long-range drive against the bar which enabled Simms to nod home a last-ditch equaliser against Manchester City.
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HOT SEAT: ANTHONY GORDON
“When I look to him, it is because he has really high quality,” continued Silva.
“He changed something.
“His intensity is different, he is working with the first team, he changed something in his way to play in some moments.
“He is doing really well, it is up to him to keep working hard because with his level he will achieve the first team. I don’t have doubts about that.”
Everton go to Burnley on Saturday pursuing the victory which would give their campaign a jump start.
And Silva insisted he would only introduce Gordon into the senior fold when the youngster could operate relatively free of pressure.
“To give chances in these types of moments, we have to be sure,” added Silva.
“We have to try to help the players perform well.
“We might wait for a player to get his chance in the right moment, for him to come in step by step, in a normal way, and not put pressure on him to solve problems.
“We want players in our [current] attack line to take responsibility to be more clinical, it is not fair to put this pressure on Anthony Gordon.
“He is playing well and making a big difference for the Under-23s.
“He just has to keep working that way and the chance will appear for him.”