Anthony Gordon in PNE tracksuit Deepdale

Preston North End boss Alex Neil has made Carlo Ancelotti worried over Anthony Gordon after not picking the youngster against Middlesbrough on Tuesday night.

Gordon has been a useful signing for Alex Neil since joining the Championship side on loan during the winter transfer window.

Preston supporters were baffled by the decision of their manager during the game, as he didn’t bring on the youngster, even though his side was down to 10 men later in the game following a red card to Browne.

The Preston manager was quick to justify his decision after the game in a press conference, and that’s not a good sign for the young winger if he’s looking to make an impact for Everton next season.

Neil explained to Lancs Live: “The thing with Anthony is, that he wants to take touches, and the way Middlesbrough plays, they want to lock you in and in that way you need to limit your touches – certainly if you’re high up the pitch. That’s why I put three runners behind Ched, so if the ball goes up, sticks, gets set back and then guys run.”

Gordon has impacted games for Preston prior to their 1-0 defeat to Wycombe Wanderers last Saturday, but now remains without a goal or an assist for four games.

The youngster takes just 25.9 touches per Championship game over his eight appearances until now. Gordon has offered on average 0.9 shots and created one goalscoring opportunity, including two big chances and missing one clear cut opening during those games.

Neil’s reasoning must have raised big concerns for the Toffees boss, as the Everton hierarchy see the player in and around the first team for next season. Ancelotti must now consider what sort of impact the £4.5m-rated forward will be able to offer the European football hopefuls next season.

According to the Preston boss, the youngster needs to gain consistency and improve his decision making, before he can start influencing games on a regular basis for the team in the Championship and it’s still a long way before he can be a Premier League player.

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