Miguel Almiron's playing his way out of Newcastle United's pre-season campaign
Newcastle United fans have been cheering on Miguel Almiron at the Copa America.
But the better he plays, the less chance they will have of cheering him on when the new season starts.
Paraguay last night confirmed their place in the last eight of the competition thanks to a 2-0 win over Chile in Brazil.
Almiron scored one goal and set up another during his 77 minutes on the pitch.
Paraguay will complete their group stage campaign with a fixture against Uruguay in Rio De Janeiro on Monday ahead of a quarter-final tie late next week.
Return to form
Almiron didn’t have the best season for his club, but he’s shone for his country so far at Copa America.
The midfielder, signed by then-manager Rafa Benitez from Atlanta United in Jaunary 2019, had found himself out of Newcastle’s starting XI at one point, but he returned to the fore following the January arrival of assistant manager Graeme Jones.
Almiron was fielded as a No.10 in a split-striker system, and he has shone in that position in the tournament. The 27-year-old was named man of the match for the Chilie game in Brasilia.
Almiron will miss the start of pre-season – the club’s players are due to return the week after next – and just how soon he returns to Tyneside depends on Paraguay’s progress.
Steve Bruce and his coaching team will be watching closely, with the tournament being screened by the BBC.
The Copa America final is on July 10, and if Paraguay go all the way, Almiron may not return until the end of the month, or even early August, given the need for him to have two or three weeks rest.
The longest campaign
Almiron, a phenomenal athlete, covered a lot of ground last season on the back of a shortened summer holiday last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, and he will need time to recuperate ahead of the new campaign.
That said, this season is not over yet, there are many hard yards ahead of Almiron in the Copa America. Paraguay will discover their quarter-final opponents after the final round of group games.
Almiron will have the backing of United fans, though they know the better he does, the longer it could be before they see him back in black and white.