Have Newcastle finally found leader to replace Kevin Nolan and Joey Barton?

Aleksandar Mitrovic
Aleksandar Mitrovic

The search for a player with character full of passion, leadership and emotion has been a long one.

As Joey Barton and Kevin Nolan departed Tyneside they took with them the true fighting desire that any team needs, but now four years on have we finally filled that void?

Gary Cahill and Aleksandar Mitrovic battle for the ball

Gary Cahill and Aleksandar Mitrovic battle for the ball

Saturday saw the return of Aleksandar Mitrovic, who walked straight in to the starting XI to face Chelsea at St James’s Park – and he certainly didn’t disappoint.

From the first whistle it was obvious to see that United were up for the fight, a contrast from the diabolical no show in the League cup defeat to Sheffield Wednesday reserves just four days prior.

From one side of the pitch to the other, Mitrovic played more like a box to box midfielder as he bullied almost every single player in blue throughout the game, whether it be ignoring Gary Cahill’s attempts to enrage him or easing skilfull Eden Hazard off the ball.

The Serbian bottled his anger and directed it in the correct way this week, using it all in his general game play and workrate which was second to none.

As Ayoze Perez calmly found the back of the net and ran to the North West corner to celebrate, little did he know that Mitrovic was close on his tail ready to wrestle him to the turf and celebrate the opening goal under a floodlit St James’s.

Newcastle led 2-1 as Mitrovic left the field of play with cramp. Stumbling off the pitch he looked everyone of his team-mates in the eye, encouraging them to keep their heads held high and hold on to that crucial winning result, yelling “10 more minutes” in the direction of the defence.

He showed then just how much this result would mean to himself as well as the team but little did he know just a few minutes later the heart-breaking equaliser would find its way past Tim Krul as United tired.

Don’t let that score line fool you though; United deserved all three points.

Now let’s repeat that performance every week and we will surely win more than we lose.