Isaac Hayden believes Miguel Almiron can be the missing link for Newcastle United.
The midfielder, signed from Atlanta United on transfer deadline day last month in a club-record deal, is set to make his home debut against Huddersfield Town tomorrow.
Almiron – who could cost the club up to £21million – came off the bench against Wolverhampton Wanderers last week.
And Hayden was impressed with the 24-year-old’s attitude and application at Molineux.
Almiron was flattened by Wolves’ Joao Moutinho minutes after coming on, but the Paraguay international just got up and carried on.
“He’s been top-drawer in training, especially for him, coming from a foreign country – and especially the MLS – it’s a completely different level,” said Hayden.
He’s been top-drawer in training, especially for him, coming from a foreign country – and especially the MLS –it’s a completely different level.Isaac Hayden
“For him to come on against Wolves, he was a bit of a livewire and he showed what he could do.
“There was a strong tackle put in on him, and I turned to him and said ‘welcome to English football’. He got up and was just smiling away.
“You can see in his eyes that he’s really enjoying it, all this experience. He will get better and better. I think he’ll be a great asset.
“I’d seen a few clips of him on YouTube, so we had an inkling of what he was about, but credit to him. He was sticking himself about against Wolves, he digs deep, tracks back and tackles. If he keeps doing that, as well as bring stuff in attack, he’ll be great for this club.”
Almiron, earmarked to play as a No 10 behind Salomon Rondon by manager Rafa Benitez, will “cause damage” in the Premier League, according to Hayden.
“It’s difficult, because we haven’t really got players who can make the difference by themselves,” said the 23-year-old. “We’re more a team who works hard, sticks to the gameplan and helps each other out – stuff like that.
“We maybe need someone who’s more of a dribbler with some extra pace.
“Playing off Ronny (Rondon), it will make a massive difference and all the players that can get off him up front will cause damage.”
Meanwhile, United midfielder Ki Sung-yueng has spoken about the injury which he suffered at the Asian Cup with South Korea last month.
Ki – who has since retired from international football – is hoping to be involved against Huddersfield.
“I picked up a hamstring injury in the first game,” said the 30-year-old. “It wasn’t a bad injury – it should have taken 10 to 12 days. Then, I came back to training – and I did it again. It was very frustrating, because it was my last competition for my country.
“I realised that, even if we reached the final, I couldn’t play, so I decided to come back to Newcastle.
“I had to leave early for the Asian Cup, but I ended up with the worst scenario for everyone. But I couldn’t blame anyone.”