Newcastle United fans are tipping Miguel Almiron to have a breakout year at St James’ Park, but Eddie Howe sees it differently.
The Paraguayan has been the Magpies’ pre-season star. He scored six goals in friendly action, bagging three braces in three games. The pick of the bunch was against Benfica, where he combined with Kieran Trippier to score two wonderful goals against strong opposition.
It could be the start of a really special season for Almiron if he can carry on this form. And he looks like the latest player to benefit from Howe’s coaching.
The first was Joelinton, who was completely transformed last season. He went from struggling forward to powerhouse midfielder in the blink of an eye, and is now a key player at St James’ Park.
Fans want to see Almiron enjoy a similar renaissance, but Howe has played that talk down for one simple reason.
Howe on a possible Almiron renaissance
Ahead of the new season, the Newcastle manager has sat down for an interview that has been uploaded on Newcastle’s official YouTube account.
Howe was asked about Joelinton’s renaissance last season, and whether or not he thinks Almiron is the next in line for mass improvement.
“For me it wouldn’t be a renaissance for Miggy,” he said.
“I think he was a very important player for us last year. I thought the back end of the season he was terrific, without getting the goals and the headlines that his performances deserved. But certainly in terms of his overall level was very high.
“He became an integral part of the team. I think everyone knows with Miggy – he’s such a hard worker, he’s such a team player. I’d love him to get some individual rewards off the back of that as well with more goals. And he’s certainly during pre-season done very well in that respect. I hope that continues for him.”
Classy response from Howe
Fair play to Howe for taking the time to praise Almiron’s contributions last season. It would have been very easy for him to get lost in his six goals scored in pre-season.
The £21million man actually did become an important player last year, and it was totally out of the blue. An injury to Ryan Fraser handed him an opportunity, having previously struggled for minutes under the new manager.
Almiron went on a decent run towards the end of the year, which will always be remembered for that goal against Crystal Palace. He certainly received the headlines that night, and Howe wants to see that more often.
There’s no denying his appetite for the game, and now he appears to understand his role in Howe’s squad. He’s combining well with Trippier and Bruno Guimaraes, and should start on Saturday.
While fans think the Almiron renaissance is on the horizon, Howe is keen to remind you that it already started last season.
That means someone else will have to take on the role of this season’s Joelinton. But who will it be…