The uneasy feeling among Newcastle United fans after explosive interview
Robson wasn’t a fan of players arriving back late from international duty, especially when his Newcastle United team had an early kick-off on Saturday.
This was a particular problem for South American players given the time difference and journey time – and Nolberto Solano often found himself in Sir Bobby’s bad books after last-minute returns from Peru games.
It’s still a problem today, of course. No manager wants a tired and jaded player arriving back a day or so before a big game.
And this brings us to Miguel Almiron, who was suspended for last night’s World Cup qualifier against Bolivia after picking up a yellow card against Argentina in Buenos Aires last week.
The assumption on Tyneside was that Almiron’s suspension would benefit the club, as it would mean the midfielder could return early for Saturday’s Premier League fixture against Chelsea, which has a 12.30pm kick-off.
Not so. Almiron was in the stands at the Estadio Defensores del Chaco in Ascunsion for the Bolivia game.
And, consequently, Almiron could well be on the bench for the Chelsea game, though the hamstring injuries suffered by Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser could yet force Steve Bruce’s hand.
Of course, this all comes after Daniel Campos, Almiron’s agent, gave an explosive interview on a Paraguayan radio station about his client’s future – and his defensive duties in Bruce's starting XI.
“I think, if it wasn’t for the pandemic, he would’ve been playing in a different team,” said Campos. “But what happened, happened.
"He has to continue being on a team where the aspirations are different. We know that there’s a league with six strong teams, and the others are fighting for the remaining spots.
“But he’s happy. Obviously, if it was a team with much more movement and possession, Miguel would’ve been showcased more.
"Last year, he played as a second forward. He played behind the striker. But Miguel’s a very versatile player. He adapts. He’s a player that doesn’t have a problem in working different functions.”
Campos, pointedly, suggested that Almiron will leave Newcastle next summer.
“I have no doubt he will leave,” said Campos. “I think it will happen soon, perhaps in June.”
There’d be something wrong if Almiron, linked with Atletico Madrid, didn’t want to play for a team which was pushing for trophies. That ambition is understandable, but Campos’ decision to go public with it right now is questionable.
Newcastle will be fairly relaxed about the situation given that Almiron, signed from Atlanta United last year, is under contract at St James’s Park until 2024.
Bruce, for his part, will be more focused on his team for Saturday, and United's head coach will address Almiron’s return – and Campos’ comments – in his press conference on Friday.
Fans, however, will be uneasy given Almiron’s importance to the team.
Almiron hasn’t seemed in too much of a hurry to return to Newcastle this week, and supporters can only hope that he’s not in a hurry to leave the club.