This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…
Danny Mills believes he has identified the problem with Miguel Almiron’s play which has led to him to struggle for Newcastle.
The former England international admitted that he himself drew criticism from Magpies supporters earlier this year when Almiron’s performances were seemingly proving that his initial doubts were misplaced.
However, since the winger has failed to score or assist a single goal in a black and white shirt, Mills now feels validated for holding his original opinion of the player.
He questioned Almiron’s goalscoring ability and he has since been proved correct on that front, but the ex-pro did at least explain a factor which may be contributing to his lack of attacking edge.
Speaking to Football Insider, Mills said:
“I gave him a little bit of stick when he first came arrived. I didn’t know too much about him, was he the answer for Newcastle, was this going to be the stellar signing they’re looking for, is he going to score enough goals?
“I think he started off really well, had three or four games where he looked great and I got all sorts of abuse from the Newcastle fans but look, not so good now.
“That’s the problem, he’s working very, very hard but he’s in the team to be creative, he’s in the team to create chances and to score goals. He’s not doing it. To work hard is normal, to work hard is mandatory. That’s the very, very least every player should be doing.”
From Mills’ comments it is clear to see that he feels the Paraguay international isn’t doing enough for his team, and it is possible that he thinks that the 25-year-old may not sufficiently repay his £20m fee.
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Whilst Mills is correct that every player needs to work hard for their side, it is refreshing to see a forward-thinking player track back and defend for his team.
It is important in Bruce’s system where there can be a lot of space in the middle due to the lack of central midfielders, and therefore Almiron’s contribution deserves a little recognition.
He has also proved a threat when running in behind this term, and was unfortunate not to score against Wolves and Bournemouth, with Allan Saint-Maximin blocking his goalbound effort against the latter.
Too often, though, he has missed gilt-edged chances, both this season and last. That is worrying for a Newcastle attack which has only scored 11 goals in 12 league games, and is evidence that Mills is accurate in his assessment of the player.
Almiron is the club’s second-most expensive signing ever, and they would have expected a greater return on their money than what he has delivered so far, even if he has been useful without scoring.