If and when Miguel Almiron is called up to the Paraguay squad for their forthcoming World Cup qualifiers next month, it could create a serious problem for Steve Bruce and Newcastle United.
Paraguay are due to play Chile on the 25th March and then Colombia on the 30th – and he will almost certainly play 90 minutes in both games, being their best player.
Now, I’m not sure what the COVID quarantines/restrictions are but I’m assuming if he flies out there’ll be an incubation period and the same when he returns – and that doesn’t even factor in jet lag, fatigue and the risk of a potential injury.
Unless as an elite athlete he gets a reprieve as long as he tests negative at both ends, any of the above could put his availability at serious risk for games against Brighton (a), Tottenham (h) and Burnley (a) between the end of March and start of April.
It’s a worrying thought with the way he’s been playing since he moved to a No 10 role in this new 4312 formation.
He’s a regular and a national hero, so it’s difficult to see him not being called up or us persuading Paraguay to send him home early (they didn’t last time!).
In my eyes he’s been our standout player since the turn of the new year, even before Graeme Jones came in. Since Jones has come in he’s got even better and that magical Miggy smile is back! His display against Southampton being exceptional, he was electric at Everton and was the reason we could’ve put Palace to bed in that frustrating first half at St James’ Park last month.
A flat display at Chelsea aside, he looks at peace with the world again and enjoying his football again and that’s great news for us particularly with Wilson now going to be missing for a while.
We need Miggy more than ever and he’s also a better player when ASM is about for me as well – they seem like kindred spirits – so let’s hope we find a way to have him fit and available for those three crucial games against Brighton, Spurs and Burnley!