Danny Higginbotham stated why he thought Newcastle United attacker Miguel Almiron was struggling to deliver the goods at St James Park.
The Paraguayan attacking midfielder is yet to register an assist or score a goal for the Magpies despite playing 17 times for the club since joining from Atlanta United in January.
The Sky Sports pundit revealed that he thought Almiron had got the ability but suggested it was the player’s decision making that was letting him down.
“At times his head is down,” said Higginbotham on Football Centre (Sky Sports News, 10:31 am, Thursday, October 3rd).
“He is quick, he has got the ability, but he has to get his head up more.
“He has to pick the right decision, whether it be to pass or have a shot, as Newcastle need him especially with them defending quite deep, he’s got the pace to push forward and support.
“He has the pace to do that, but he’s got to be able to do that and he also needs to have the intelligence to make the right decision when he gets in the right areas.
“There’s probably a lot of times where he is picking the ball up 20-30 yards deeper than he wants to and then he is struggling to get past the opposition in the midfield.”
Higginbotham then recapped what he said about Almiron before focusing on analysing Manchester United and did imply that the attacker’s poor decision could be a result of him lacking confidence.
“I just think there is a player there, he is quick, he is direct but I just think it’s his decision making and that can go along with confidence,” added Higginbotham.
Almiron is a frustrating player to watch as you can see the desperation on his face anytime he finds himself with a goalscoring opportunity. Therefore it wouldn’t be a surprise if his decision making is what is letting him down right now, as he is snatching at his chances, shooting when he possibly should be passing as he wants to open his account and he probably has lost a little belief in his decisions as a result of them not paying off. If a player has any doubts in their mind, then it’s going to cause them to hesitate and potentially miss out on an opportunity on goal. However, Almiron’s struggles can’t just be put down to his own decisions standing in his way, as he hasn’t exactly benefitted from fantastic service. For example, the Magpies only had 31% possession against Leicester City and only registered three shots on goal (Source: WhoScored), so it’s not like chances have been coming thick and fast for the 25-year-old. While Almiron needs to help carve out opportunities for himself and his teammates, given that his side weren’t retaining possession it’s not like he saw enough of the ball to have any form of positive influence.