Mikel Merino reveals the football philosophy he’s brought to Newcastle

Mikel Merino
Mikel Merino

Mikel Merino and Aleksandar Mitrovic were among the goals as Newcastle United’s internationals played their first round of games.

Merino scored a stunning goal – and set up another – in Spain Under-21s’ 3-0 friendly win over Italy.

The midfielder, signed on loan from Borussia Dortmund, took the ball on the edge of the box before nutmegging a defender and finishing.

Speaking after Newcastle’s 3-0 win over West Ham United last month, Merino said: “I’m looking forward to enjoy the time with my national team, to spend time with my team-mates and to learn and communicate with them.

“It’s a new generation, and I’m looking forward to enjoying this week.”

Technically-gifted Merino impressed against West Ham.

The 21-year-old said: “I like to give the passes to my team-mates, because I think it’s the best way to win matches.

“Precise passes, and to go forward, that’s what I try.

“Sometimes you misplace passes, because you take risks in order to give a good pass to someone in front.

“But when the pass is good, it creates a clear chance for our team, so I try to give these passes.

Precise passes and to go forward, that’s what I try.

Mikel Merino

“If I fail with half of it, then it doesn’t matter, because I know the other half will be good chances.

“That’s what I try to do. I have to learn a lot from Rafa (Benitez), from the league,

“I’m only 21, and I think I have a lot of things to improve.

“But, by playing, I will learn and I will become a more complete footballer.”

Meanwhile, striker Aleksandar Mitrovic netted for Serbia in their 3-0 win over Moldova in a World Cup qualifier.

Mitrovic will miss Newcastle’s next three games through suspension after admitting a Football Association charge of violent conduct.

The 22-year-old elbowed West Ham’s Manuel Lanzini after coming off late in the game. He scored United’s third goal.