Opinion: Newcastle’s timid eight goal star who’s steadily improving on Tyneside

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After 2190 minutes and 46 shots Miguel Almiron had finally scored his first Premier League goal for Newcastle United. The pressure the former record signing was under to score was only matched by the relief he displayed in ripping off his shirt and tearing in the St James’ Park crowd. Steve Bruce said after the match that he “hadn’t heard a roar like it” as almost all of the 45,453 fans in attendance were sent into raptures.

It took a long wait for the Paraguayan international to get off of the mark in the Premier League, but ever since he has been quietly going about his business on Tyneside and steadily improving. Almiron is set to finish the campaign as Newcastle’s top scorer in all competitions on eight strikes, and it just serves to highlight how his development since arriving from Atlanta United may have gone under the radar.

No other player in the Magpies’ squad has had a hand in ten goals this season, with Almiron also assisting two Premier League goals. Despite not opening his goalscoring account until the December 21, the 26-year-old has made the second half of the campaign count.

The attacking midfielder particularly enjoyed Newcastle’s run to the FA Cup quarter-finals, their first appearance in the last eight since 2006, scoring twice against Rochdale and West Bromwich Albion. Furthermore, since the resumption of the Premier League, the diminutive attacker has continued his momentum, scoring two goals, firstly a precise long-range strike against A.F.C Bournemouth, following that goal up with another against West Ham four days later.

While Almiron is yet to hit the heights he displayed in the MLS, where he scored 24 goals across two seasons, the midfielder has proven he is Premier League quality with his performances this term and only Jonjo Shelvey has outscored him in the league on six top-flight strikes.

It takes great mental strength to come out of a barren run which was 27 Premier League matches long, and the 26-year-old deserves a tremendous amount of credit for turning his fortunes on Tyneside around. Momentum is now on Almiron’s side, and he must set his sights even higher next term.

Allan Saint-Maximin has grabbed lots of attention with his eye-catching displays for Newcastle, but the statistics suggest that at least concerning end product Almiron has outshone the Frenchman this season. He must continue his quiet development and aim to break the ten-goal barrier next term.

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