Noel Whelan has blasted Miguel Almiron after the Newcastle United midfielder was sent off for the second time in his international career, leaving the pundit with renewed concerns over the Paraguayan’s desire.
Almiron saw red for Paraguay on Thursday night, when issued a second yellow card for simulation in the 54th-minute of a friendly match against Serbia, having been shown his first caution moments before the break.
The 25-year-old was first sent off while representing his country when referee Keylor Herrera brandished a straight red for a dangerous challenge, just seven minutes after Almiron entered the action during an international friendly with Mexico in March (TransferMarkt).
His latest dismissal has renewed concerns Whelan had been developing over the midfielder’s desire, having felt that Almiron had only delivered performances to 70% of what he is capable of in his recent outings for Newcastle.
Speaking with Football Insider, the former Leeds United striker suggested Almiron now has a lot of work to do if he is to regain the form displayed with Atlanta United, while Toon boss Steve Bruce needs to see progress.
“He’s got a lot of work to do,” Whelan said. “He’s obviously not gone away with international duty and got his confidence back that way, if anything it’s another kick in the teeth for him.
“So he’s gotta find it somewhere, you know when you’re down and lower than a snake’s belly, it tests the character in a player.
“Bruce is probably going to keep faith with him, but he’s gotta start repaying that as he has been brought in to do a job and he’s probably playing at 70% of what he is capable of, and that can only go on so long before there’s a change.”
Almiron has been a regular for club and country this season, with Bruce turning to the 25-year-old for each Premier League game thus far, while Paraguay boss Eduardo Berizzo does likewise on the international stage (per TransferMarkt).
Like Whelan states, Bruce will need to see improvements from Almiron to justify his continued selection, and will be growing ever more concerned the longer his wait for a maiden strike goes on, having created chances for himself and his Toon teammates in all bar one league game this term (WhoScored).
Newcastle fans, should Bruce drop Almiron for the Toon’s trip to Chelsea after the international break? Let us know in the comments below…
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