“It’s interesting, isn’t it? He was highlighted on Match of the Day, I think he had a few good games when he first came to the club and I was one of those sceptics that said we don’t know much of him,” Mills said in an interview with Football Insider.
“He did sign for Rafa Benitez, so has his opinion changed? Does he feel quite as special and as wanted, does he understand what the manager wants from him? Maybe not.
“As I say, Match of the Day highlighted it, he wasn’t getting in the box. The ball was out wide and this is supposed to be your goal-scoring midfielder, your number 10, and he’s nowhere near, he’s not breaking his neck to get in the box.
“You have to look at it and think he’s flattered to deceive last season.”
Mills clearly doesn’t think Almiron has got his 2019/20 season off to a good start as he highlighted how the midfielder wasn’t going all out to get in the box against Norwich City. Given that this remark sort of questions the 25-year-old’s effort, then it’s very damaging indeed. As it’s one thing to question a player’s talent but a whole different kettle of fish to wonder if they’re doing all they can to get ahead. However, while only Almiron knows if he is giving a 100%, what is clear is that the 25-year-old has to up his game sooner rather than later. The Paraguayan is yet to score for the Magpies despite featuring 12 times, and only managed one shot against Norwich, as per WhoScored, and two shots against Arsenal, as per WhoScored, so that implies he is not consistently getting himself in the right positions to have a chance at goal. Whether Almiron needs Bruce to tell him how to be a prolific striker is debatable, given he knew where the net was in 2018 as he scored 12 goals in 32 outings for Atlanta United.