Eddie Howe given ‘great credit’ for transforming Newcastle United flop into deadly operator
A pundit thinks Eddie Howe is largely to thank for the upturn in form of Newcastle attacker Miguel Almiron, who is already on four goals this season.
Newcastle spent £20million to sign Almiron from MLS outfit Atlanta United in January 2019, with the player becoming their club-record signing at the time. He impressed fans with his hard-working nature and never-say-die attitude.
However, rival fans pointed out the winger’s lack of goalscoring threat. Indeed, only one goal came his way in 32 appearances last season.
The campaign before, Almiron found the net just fives times during 39 outings. This record was nowhere near what a player in his position should be reaching.
Almiron has turned things around this term, much to the delight of Howe and the Newcastle faithful. He is already on four strikes from nine matches and looks set for his best season in a Newcastle shirt.
The Paraguayan opened his account for the season by scoring in Newcastle’s eventful 3-3 draw with Manchester City on August 21.
He scored twice against Fulham on October 1 to help the Magpies ease to a 4-1 victory at Craven Cottage. And Almiron was at it again over the weekend, getting on the scoresheet in Newcastle’s 5-1 thrashing of Brentford.
He capitalised on an Ethan Pinnock error in the 82nd minute by stealing the ball in the box, going round goalkeeper David Raya and finishing into an open net.
Miguel Almiron improvement examined
Former attacker Noel Whelan has been discussing Almiron’s upturn in form during an interview with Football Insider. He thinks there are a couple of factors at play.
The first is Jack Grealish’s comments about Almiron during Manchester City’s title celebrations last season. He complained that Riyad Mahrez had ‘played like Almiron’ against Aston Villa, which is why the winger was replaced by Bernardo Silva on the final day.
More importantly, though, Whelan believes Howe is working wonders and managing to find a system that perfectly suits Almiron.
“I think the Jack Grealish comments have spurred him on,” the pundit said. “We always knew he was a hard-working player, but it was just the end product which always let him down.
“But looking at the goals he’s scored this season – and the goal he scored on Saturday, latching on and taking advantage of poor defending – it seems he’s finally added that.
“It can be down to a manager, squeezing every bit of quality out of a player. Eddie Howe has to take great credit for what he’s done with Almiron.
“You’ve got to install that belief and confidence in players like him. He’s risen to the challenges set and he’s now showing what an important player he can be.
“You can’t turn a blind eye to his work off the ball, but the key for him was always being part of that front three but not scoring goals. He’s got that ability now.
Star has ‘got the taste’ for scoring
“Maybe last season he wouldn’t have latched onto that backpass, but he’s got the taste for it now. He’s reading these situations.”
Almiron, 28, certainly looks like a different player under Howe’s guidance. He is playing with a freedom that he did not have before.
Almiron will also be benefitting from the improved quality around him. Thanks to Newcastle’s embarrassment of riches, they have signed top players like Kieran Trippier, Bruno Guimaraes and Alexander Isak.
These stars will be helping to put Almiron in more goalscoring positions and giving him good tips on where to be in the final third. Part of this must once again be put down to the ability of Howe, as he is assembling a great squad at St James’ Park.
Meanwhile, Tuesday’s Transfer Gossip claims Newcastle chiefs want to sign two impressive attackers next year, including one from the Prem.