Eddie Howe explains Miguel Almiron’s lack of playing time at Newcastle United
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Not many supporters would have predicted the Paraguayan to become something of a bit-part player on Tyneside following his £20million move from Atlanta United, three years ago.
But Almiron is certainly going through a tough period in his Magpies career with the attacking midfielder starting just three of Howe’s 14 games in charge as head coach.
The 28-year-old’s late 11-minute cameo during the 1-1 draw at West Ham United last weekend was his first outing in three matches with Allan Saint-Maximin, Ryan Fraser and Jacob Murphy currently featuring higher in Howe’s immediate plans.
However as the season progresses, particularly when United play four games in 11 days at the beginning of March, Almiron is tipped to play his part.
‘Almiron has a massive role to play’ - Howe
Asked about Almiron’s situation by NewcastleWorld, Howe said: “Yeah, he has a massive role to play. I’m a big fan of Miggy.
“He has outstanding athletic and pressing qualities which, of course, we base our game around really.
“He is a big counter-attack threat and he’s got a lovely left foot. He’s a great lad, works incredibly hard, trains well and is waiting for his opportunity.
“We have competition for places which is what we’ve craved from day one, people pushing each other to good performances.
“It’s a credit to the form of Allan (Saint-Maximin), Ryan (Fraser) and to Jacob (Murphy) - whichever position he has played.
“Miggy hasn’t had the game time that he wants but he’s certainly got a big part to play.
“As I said earlier with the fixture congestion we’ve got coming up, everyone in the squad needs to be ready and when they get their chance, they need to take it.”
What next for Almiron at Newcastle?
The pressure is on Almiron to make the most of any chances that should come his way - otherwise his time on Tyneside could well come to a close this summer - writes Mark Carruthers.
When, and if, United secure their Premier League status, attention will fully turn towards putting together a squad capable of taking the next step under their new owners.
There will be casualties and several members of the Magpies squad will be made available to make way for new additions.
His agent discussed a possible exit at the end of the season and tried to initiate talks over a new contract as recently as last month and once again suggested Almiron had interest from Serie A and La Liga.
As yet, Newcastle have not been responsive to those comments.
Almiron, unless he is able to find a regular place in Howe’s starting lineup, could well be one of them heading for the exit at St James Park at the end of the season.