Almiron showed flashes in a promising cameo against Wolves – enough for Toon fans to get excited that he can give us the creativity and speed in the final third we badly need.
As we approach our game against Huddersfield this weekend, thoughts will turn as to whether Almiron will make his first Premier League start – and the signs are that he will!
Here’s what Hayden’s had to say about the Paraguayan after watching him impress on the training pitch this week:
“He’s been top drawer in training,”
“Especially for him, coming from a foreign country – and especially the MLS – it’s a completely different level.
“For him to come on against Wolves, he was a bit of a livewire and he showed what he could do. There was a strong tackle put in on him and I turned to him and said.. ‘Welcome to English football.”
“He got up and was just smiling away. You can see in his eyes that he is really enjoying it, all this experience.”
Hayden has been in good form himself of course, almost bagging the winner at Molineux if it wasn’t for Boly’s late header. It is good to hear Almiron is performing well in training as well know Rafa is a stickler, and rightly so, for demanding players train well to get their chance in the first XI at the weekend.
Benitez will have undertaken extensive character checks on Almiron before sanctioning his record transfer – and by all accounts, we have heard nothing but glowing reports from the MLS on his desire, attitude and application on and off the field.
We have two games coming up that can go along way to keeping us up if we can win them, as Huddersfield and then Burnley visit SJP. We need a minimum of four points but six would put us on 31 points with ten games to play; there would be no better time for Almiron to make and impact and endear himself to the Toon faithful.