He may miss out with a thigh injury, but Steve Bruce has heaped praise on Miguel Almiron ahead of tomorrow’s trip to the Etihad, saying he’s a “dream” to manage and starting to prove what a “top player” he really is.
Almiron scored our first equaliser against West Ham on Sunday to make that two goals in two following his sublime finish against Bournemouth the last Wednesday.
Now Bruce, who stuck by the Paraguayan after a difficult first 11 months on Tyneside, believes we are now seeing the best of him – even admitting that he’s been so keen to play he’s even kept a recent thigh injury quiet!
Here’s what he had to say about the ex-MLS star in today’s pre-match presser:
“Almirón is a manager’s dream,”
“He’s bright, he’s tough, he trains every day and he’s been carrying a thigh injury but doesn’t want to tell anybody!
“The last 20 minutes on Sunday he was limping about the pitch.
“In 18 months he’s proved to be a really top, top player.”
One thing that has helped endear Almiron to the Toon Army, even while taking his time to settle in on Tyneside, is his work-rate and determination from the first minute to the last.
The man is constantly running his socks off and pressing the opposition, which led some to originally believe that he might actually be trying too hard! His enthusiasm for the game is evident as he is always playing with a smile on his face, something the fans can relate to.
We have had numerous cult figures over the years who may not have been the best of players, but who were fan favourites due to their work-ethic and attitude to our cause. Think Jonas Gutierrez and James Perch!
However, what Almiron is proving to have is genuine quality – just look at his weaker-foot finish against Bournemouth. A combination of work rate and talent is always a deadly mix, which shows why he may have caught the attention of Atletico Madrid according to reports in the press last week.
He is nowhere near the finished article by any stretch of the imagination. He probably doesn’t make it into any of the Premier League’s big six and there are times after games where you find yourself saying to others, “Almiron should have scored, shouldn’t he?” Sheffield United and Aston Villa are prime examples.
The good thing is that Almiron always seems to be getting the chances in front of goal, and he has shown in the last two games that he is starting to put them away too.
It may have taken him longer than expected to start showing his worth but he is certainly showing his value now, and will only improve as well.
A player that grafts for the shirt, has quality in his boots and is happy to play for our club is all we ask for as Newcastle fans – and Almiron fits the bill for all three!