The 'lovely touch' at Newcastle United that caught Eddie Howe's eye
An exhausted Miguel Almiron was given a standing ovation when he left the pitch yesterday.
Almiron, literally, had run himself into the ground before his late withdrawal against Manchester City.
The midfielder had played his part against the Premier League champions, cancelling out Ilkay Gundogan’s opener in the game, which ended 3-3 after 98 pulsating minutes at St James’s Park.
City manager Pep Guardiola mentioned Almiron’s running from the right in his post-match press conference, and his pace and movement was so important each time United won the ball back.
“If you don’t finish, you have to control (Allan) Saint-Maximin or Almiron,” said Guardiola. “After, they run – and that’s a problem.”
However, Almiron – who had struggled for form before Howe’s arrival last season – had been tipped for an exit late last season ahead of an expected busy summer in the transfer market.
Yet the 28-year-old is now seemingly more important than ever to the club he joined in January 2019 from Atlanta United, whose lost their president, Darren Eales, to Newcastle, where he is now the club’s chief executive officer.
Eales was in his seat when Wor Flags unveiled a “Wor Miggy” banner before the game – Almiron responded with a goal from a clever pass from Allan Saint-Maximin.
For Howe, Almiron – who scored two goals against Benfica at the Estadio Da Luz last month – has taken his pre-season form into the new campaign.
“Miggy’s carried on his pre-season form into the season,” said head coach Eddie Howe. “In the three games he’s had in the Premier League, he’s been magnificent for us.
“On and off the ball, I think he’s been very, very solid. So pleased that he got the ball, and what a gesture from the supporters here. Very understanding, very knowledgeable, very caring towards the players. That would have been a lovely touch for Miggy.
“He would have really appreciated that. It was great to see him get the goal with that acknowledgement from the supporters.”
With the right encouragement from Howe and the club’s fans, Almiron, playing on the club’s problem right side, can score many more goals this season.