According to The Athletic’s Chris Waugh, sources close to Miguel Almiron have told him how the Paraguayan has struggled with the language barrier between himself and Steve Bruce.
While difficulty communicating does not explain the fact he’s looked worryingly poor in front of goal this season, spurning several big chances, this is a factor that won’t be helping the 25-year-old get back to his best – especially when he was able to speak fluently to former boss Rafa Benitez.
Waugh’s piece insists that Almiron is ‘enjoying’ working under Bruce, but reveals that he’s ‘still learning how to play his new position’ – and his inability to communicate with Bruce is ‘increasing the period of time it takes him to digest information’.
Here’s an intriguing snippet from The Atheltic’s latest piece on the out of sorts Paraguayan:
‘Almiron is still acclimatising to life under Steve Bruce. Those close to Almiron, as well as those who have followed his career to date – including ex-Newcastle defender Warren Barton and Atlanta goalkeeper Brad Guzan – believe that the Paraguayan needs a “father figure” as a coach to deliver his best. Tata Martino at Atlanta and then Benitez at Newcastle — both Spanish speakers — performed such paternal roles, leaving Almiron feeling like an important member of their respective sides.
‘While sources close to Almiron insist he is enjoying working for Bruce, who is renowned for his man-management skills, they also stress that the forward is still learning how to play in his new position. Having operated on the left of Rondon in a 3-4-2-1 formation last season, where he has spent the majority of his career, Almiron now finds himself on the right.
‘While Almiron’s understanding of English is OK, one source suggests his inability to communicate with Bruce in Spanish is increasing the period of time it takes him to digest information.‘
Perhaps this footage from our opening day defeat to Arsenal is a prime example of the miscommunication between the pair, with Bruce’s resulting in saying ‘…or wherever!’ after attempting to explain his tactics to the Paraguayan:
It’s an issue he didn’t face with Benitez and it’s also worth mentioning that he’ll be missing fellow Spanish speakers Salomon Rondon and Ayoze Perez, however this can’t be used as a total excuse for his form.
Confidence plays a huge part in football, and this can’t help with that, but his lack of composure in front of goal has been worryingly poor for a player we paid upwards of £16m to sign.
The diving also needs to be cut out as soon as possible, however I don’t subscribe to the idea that he ‘must be dropped’ and is ‘nothing but a headless chicken’.
Yes he must improve and needs a goal or an assist desperately for everyone’s sake, but he isn’t a luxury player who’ll stand on the sidelines with his hands on his hips when things don’t work out for him. He’ll go again, he doesn’t hide and he doesn’t stop running.
Let’s hope he can improve his English and, perhaps more importantly, find the net soon to lift that considerable weight that’s being placed on his narrow shoulders every week he goes without a goal.