Joe Allon has warned Steve McClaren not to try to change Aleksandar Mitrovic – as he’ll be “half the player” without his aggression.
Head coach McClaren claimed Mitrovic had a bit of the “devil” about him after he signed for the club.
And the striker was booked seconds into his Premier League debut against Southampton on Sunday.
Mitrovic, signed from Anderlecht in a £13million deal last month, also clashed with visiting defender Maya Yoshida late in the 2-2 draw at St James’s Park.
But former Newcastle striker Allon, speaking ahead of Saturday’s visit to Swansea City, another of his former clubs, feels it would be wrong to rein in Mitrovic’s aggression.
“I saw quite a lot of Aleksandar Mitrovic last season,” said Gateshead-born Allon. “Steve McClaren’s right – he has got a bit of the ‘devil’ about him.
Steve McClaren’s right, he has got a bit of the ‘devil’ about him. He can be quite aggressive, but if you take that away, he’s half the player.Joe Allon
“That’s a nice way of putting it. He can be quite aggressive, but if you take that away, he’s half the player.
“He scored 20-odd goals last season. He’s a goalscorer.
“He knows defenders are going to get him, and he’ll get them back.
“If you take that out of him, you take half the player away. Sometimes he might go over the top, and it’s down to the manager to manage him.
“You don’t want him doing ridiculous things – you want that aggression without him being over the top – and it’s down to Steve McClaren to manage that.”
Allon wants to see more investment in United’s squad before the transfer window closes.
He said: “I’d like to see some more new faces, like a wide man.
“Papiss Cisse thrives on crosses, and there’s young Ayoze Perez as well.
“It bodes well, but they’re a little bit short on numbers, and I think that’s why they’ve struggled over the past two seasons.”
Allon – who left Newcastle for Swansea in 1987 – is wary of Garry Monk’s side, who drew with champions Chelsea on the opening weekend of the season.
“Swansea had a brilliant result against Chelsea – they’re not to be under-estimated in any shape or form,” he said.
“The two lads up front against Chelsea (Bafetimbi Gomis and Andre Ayew) were very impressive.
“If there’s one weakness at Newcastle, it’s at the back.
“Newcastle need a leader.”