Wed 28 Feb 2024, 10:29 · Ash Harrison

'Excellent technician': Eddie Howe was full of praise for 21-year-old Newcastle man last night

'Excellent technician': Eddie Howe was full of praise for 21-year-old Newcastle man last night
Nick Potts via PA Wire
Share Tweet

Eddie Howe made a big call in extra time last night that had a huge effect on the outcome of the game as Newcastle United squeezed into the FA Cup quarter-finals.

A penalty shootout was ultimately needed to separate the two sides after 120 minutes of open play failed to yield a winner at Ewood Park where a dangerous-looking Blackburn Rovers side fought valiantly against a lacklustre Newcastle United.

The struggling Championship side could easily have been the ones in tonight's quarter-final draw were it not for the heroics of Martin Dubravka. The Slovakian stopper made some hugely important saves throughout the game to keep Newcastle in it before saving two spot-kicks during the shootout.

Four out of five Newcastle's penalties were superb

Newcastle converted four of five penalties with Harvey Barnes being the one who failed to convert. The other four were all brilliantly taken by their respective takers with one in particular only on the pitch to do just that.

Elliot Anderson
Getty Images
It's good to have Elliot Anderson back in contenton

Having not kicked a ball in anger since October, Elliot Anderson was called up to the bench for the trip to Ewood Park with Eddie Howe admitting in his post-match press conference that he only ever intended to give him ten minutes of game time.

With the game seemingly destined to go to penalties Eddie Howe opted to bring off Lewis Miley, himself only on a second-half substitute, and bring on Elliot Anderson. The 21-year-old got his ten minutes of game time but he was ultimately there to be one of Howe's penalty takers.

Anderson despatched his penalty with aplomb, you'd never know he'd been out of the game for so long as he stepped up and hit the ball with such confidence and immense power that were there not a net there he'd be up on a manslaughter charge for killing that shirtless James Corden look-a-like that the TV cameras love so much.

Eddie Howe will soon be able to mix things up again

Speaking to NUFC TV after the game, Howe was full of praise for Anderson after being asked about bringing him on in such a high-pressure situation after a lengthy lay-off.

"Well, I think that's a sign of how much we trust him and how highly we regard him that in that moment I was really keen to get him on the pitch because he is an excellent technician. But not only that he's got a great mentality for the game, he's never fazed, he's brave, he's ambitious and I trusted him with a penalty."

It's fantastic to see the Geordie Maradona back in action and looking as strong as ever. Hopefully, it won't be too long before he's putting in more and more minutes on the pitch. With him and Joe Willock easing their way back to full fitness, Howe can start thinking about squad rotation again.