Almirón relishing new role in Magpies' attack
Written by Tom Easterby
Newcastle United forward Miguel Almirón says he’s enjoying his new role in the side under head coach Steve Bruce.
The 25-year-old mainly featured in a wide left position last term following his January arrival from Atlanta United, but started Sunday’s Premier League opener against Arsenal in a more central berth in support of record signing Joelinton.
Almirón’s pace and trickery caused the Gunners plenty of problems in the 2019/20 curtain-raiser at St. James’ Park.
And despite suffering a 1-0 defeat, the Paraguayan international said he enjoyed playing in the new position – and told nufc.co.uk how settling quickly since his switch from the States has aided his progress over the past seven months.
“I think this position the manager is asking me to play now is a position I feel very, very comfortable in – I like playing there,” he said. “Gradually we are trying to build up an understanding between Joe and myself – he’s a great player. I think that understanding will come on the field.
“Off the field, personally I’m feeling good as well in terms of how I’ve settled since I first got here, so hopefully that will help on the field.
“I think it’s really important, a player’s family life. When you feel comfortable, happy and relaxed and things are going well off the field, I think you feel the benefits of that on it. It helps you to perform at 100 per cent.
“I’m very happy in the city, with the people and how I’m treated by the fans, and hopefully that reflects on the field. I want to pay back all those kind thoughts and good wishes I receive all the time from the fans by performing.”
Almirón was a key part of United’s late-season resurgence during the second half of 2018/19, helping his new team secure a 13th-placed finish in the Premier League with some dynamic displays on the flanks.
But a first goal in black and white has so far eluded him, though he insists it isn’t playing on his mind as he looks to gel with recent arrivals Joelinton and Allan Saint-Maximin in the Newcastle frontline.
“I’m quite relaxed about it,” he said. “The main thing is that I’m performing well and providing opportunities for other players, and I’m bringing things to the side other than just goals.
“I’ve never been a massive goalscorer, but I’m confident that the goal will come. You don’t have to worry about these things too much and the goal will come. I feel good in myself, and the main thing is to help the team in every aspect.
“The fact that quality players have come in, attacking players, is a positive for the club and the team. It’s all about working hard, and as that understanding develops it can only be a good thing.”
Bruce’s men head to Norwich City on Saturday (3pm kick-off) for what will be the Canaries’ first home game back in the Premier League after they lifted the Championship trophy in May.
They suffered a 4-1 defeat at Liverpool in their first outing of the current campaign on Friday night, but Almirón feels the occasion of the return of top flight football to Carrow Road will add an extra challenge for the Magpies to deal with.
“I think it will act as an extra bit of motivation for them, the fact they will feel they have to play well in front of their own fans with it being the first game,” he said. “But we’ve had a great pre-season, we’ve been working really hard, and we need to win to get what we deserve. They maybe have a bit of pressure to do well, but we put that on ourselves because we want to do well.
“But we’ve been working really well this week – that’s what we’ve been doing up to now – and I think we’ll be in a great position to turn that situation around come the weekend.
“I think we’ve just got to concentrate on ourselves and do what we know we can do, like every game – we always go into every game wanting to win. We go in with a positive attitude when we go out on the field. I don’t think the previous results will have too much of an interest – we know that every game is tough in this league.”
"I think it’s really important, a player’s family life. When you feel comfortable, happy and relaxed and things are going well off the field, I think you feel the benefits of that on it. It helps you to perform at 100 per cent."