Newcastle United head coach Steve Bruce has claimed that his ‘mates’ were raving to him about Magpies winger Miguel Almiron last season.
The Paraguay international got off to a hot start at St James’ Park after his January arrival from Atlanta United, but his performances have steadily deteriorated ever since.
However, Bruce has been aware of him for some time: “Let’s be fair, last January, some of my mates tell me he lit up St James’ Park,” he said, as per The Chronicle. “He’s something that we hadn’t seen before. Certainly, Saint-Maximin is not struggling for confidence. Joe, we have to reassure him that we’re all behind him and that he’s got to keep doing the things that he’s good at and the same for Miggy.
“Miggy’s had a few chances this year since I’ve been here – I don’t know what happened last year – but unfortunately hasn’t taken them. Against Wolves is the classic one. If he does get one of them, in my experience, especially a centre forward, you see the other side of them then and let’s hope that happens.”
There’s no doubt that Almiron started off life at Newcastle fantastically. Obviously he didn’t score, and still hasn’t, but he was producing positive performances that got the Magpies fans off their feet mid-way through what had been a largely dispiriting campaign to that point under former boss Rafael Benitez. Whether it was the injury that curtailed his season, a tough summer with Paraguay or the departure of Benitez, something seems to have eroded the 25-year-old’s confidence, and he’s certainly not been lighting St James’ Park up this term. Having said that, he did finally show signs of life in Saturday’s 3-2 victory over West Ham United at the London Stadium. As per WhoScored.com, the former Atlanta man had four shots – three on target – embarked on one successful dribble and was fouled twice. Furthermore, he produced 22 passes with a stunning success rate of 100%. His use of the ball has been a worry this season, so it was great to see some signs of progression there. He still has to improve his finishing – he missed a couple of decent chances – but this was better from Almiron.
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