Steve McClaren reveals what impressed him most about Aleksandar Mitrovic against Man United

Aleksandar Mitrovic
Aleksandar Mitrovic

Steve McClaren’s hailed Aleksandar Mitrovic’s “courage” after the striker put a difficult few weeks behind him by putting the ball in the net.

Mitrovic won and converted a penalty in Tuesday night’s 3-3 draw against Manchester United.

That’s the kind of character I like, (it) takes responsibility.

The 21-year-old had missed a series of chances during the club’s four-game league and cup losing streak.

And head coach McClaren feels Mitrovic’s determination to take the spot kick spoke volumes about his “character”.

“You’ve got to admire his courage,” said McClaren, whose relegation-threatened side take on West Ham United at St James’s Park this afternoon.

“You’ve got to admire it, because of the way he grabbed the ball, as if to say ‘no-one’s taking this but me’.

“That’s the kind of character I like, (it) takes responsibility.

“He’s a young player who’s come into the Premier League, but he’s shown that he’s got the character.”

Newcastle this week signed midfielders Jonjo Shelvey and Henri Saivet.

And McClaren is hopeful his team can get better service to Mitrovic in the box.

“I think all strikers, they thrive on that,” he said. “He thrives on crosses and a certain amount of balls into the box.

“We believe that Jonjo adds something different that we’ve not got.

“We’ve always liked him in football terms as a midfielder. I like a passer and a runner.

“We’ve got the likes or Vurnon (Anita), Jack (Colback) and now Henri, and now we’ve got a passer in Jonjo, and a runner in Gini (Wijnaldum) and Moussa (Sissoko) and Ayoze (Perez) in midfield, who are runners in that respect.

“So we hope the balance is good.”