Eddie Howe praised Miguel Almiron for his performance in Tuesday night’s loss to Benfica.
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Almiron scored twice in a 3-2 defeat in the preseason loss in the Portuguese capital, a game in which Newcastle put a Champions League-level team under real pressure.
Granted, the fact it wasn’t a competitive game has to be taken into account, although Joelinton’s sending off does underline just how seriously both teams were taking it. Twice, Howe’s side battled from a goal down, although were undone by two set-pieces themselves before Henrique Araujo’s late strike won the home side – who had a man advantage at the time – the Eusebio Cup.
The result came at a cost, however, with Jonjo Shelvey confirmed to have suffered a hamstring injury. While the severity of that is not yet known, Newcastle have only two more friendlies before hosting Nottingham Forest at home on Saturday August 6, meaning it is surely touch-and-go as to whether or not the 30-year-old is available.
What did Howe say about Almiron?
Speaking to the club’s in-house media channel after the loss, Howe said: “I thought we scored two great goals tonight. Really good team goals, both scored by Miggy, who could have had another one as well.
“So I thought he had a really good evening.”
Why is it relevant Howe praises Almiron?
Well, Newcastle are believed to be on the look-out for a new right-winger, although that has proven difficult thus far,
Clearly, putting too much on a preseason friendly is not wise and it’s hard to get away from the fact Almiron has only recorded 19 direct goal involvements in 123 outings since his move to St James’ Park from Atlanta United in 2019.
Still, if Howe can work with the 28-year-old in the same way he has done with the likes of Joelinton and Fabian Schar, perhaps the Paraguay international can improve his end product. Two goals in Lisbon, as well as the stunner he scored against Crystal Palace in April, do suggest there’s more to come from him.
While not signing a new winger would be a disappointment, an improvement from Almiron could give Newcastle a new dimension.