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What does the future hold for Aleksandar Mitrovic at Newcastle United?

Jake Jackman

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Mitrovic

Aleksandar Mitrovic has had a turbulent career at Newcastle United to date. There is never a dull moment with the Serbian, but the problem is that not all of his actions are positive ones. The striker has been sent off three times in England in just over two full seasons. That is not a good record for a forward player to have and he has earned himself a reputation.

At international level, he has been superb recently and scored six goals for Serbia during the qualification period. His manager, Slavoljub Muslin, has been discussing why the striker fares better for his country than his club and the Mail reports the following quotes:

‘Maybe the system we play with three attackers suits him better,’

‘Perhaps the coach in Newcastle doesn’t have as much confidence in him as I do. He is our first centre forward. Perhaps he feels more comfortable playing for the national team than he does for his own club.’ 

From anyone that has followed Newcastle during the last 12 months, it has become eminently clear that Benitez doesn’t trust Mitrovic. Last season, the Magpies had back-to-back games against Brighton and Huddersfield, their two promotion rivals. The Serbian didn’t feature for a single minute in either game. That spoke volumes.

The above comments from Muslin suggests that the way Mitrovic is being used at Newcastle has become a talking point in Serbia. They regular watch a striker capable of scoring goals at the highest level and must be confused as to why he doesn’t play a more prominent role at St James’ Park.

How do Newcastle supporters see him?

This has been a hot topic for discussion among Newcastle supporters for the last 12 months and there are two different schools of thought. There are some that see Mitrovic as the perfect centre-forward for the team and believe he has the potential to develop into a consistent Premier League goal-scorer given a run of games.

However, there are others that have grown tired of the Serbian and his childish antics. He regularly does stupid things to put the team at risk and what he offers on the pitch isn’t enough to make up for the bad stuff. There would have been many that wouldn’t have shed a tear if he had left during the summer. For a £13 million investment, he has yet to do enough.

What does the future hold for the Serbian?

There is no doubting his potential, but he needs to buck up his ideas if he is to become a success at St James’ Park. He is quickly approaching the last chance saloon and his recent suspension didn’t help matters. Against West Ham, he delivered one of the most assured performances of his Newcastle career after coming off the bench and scored the third goal. However, the bad side to his game was also on show as he elbowed Manuel Lanzini. He has since been slapped with a three-match ban.

Benitez is quickly running out of patience with the striker, but the lack of transfer conducted by the club means that he still needs Mitrovic. The Serbian international is unpredictable, but he remains one of the most talented players at the club. The next few months will determine how the club’s number 45 is viewed on Tyneside. He is still only 22 and could grow into a great striker, but he needs to start applying himself more.

Jake is a journalist based in the South East. He is a Newcastle United fan and has a keen interest in Dutch football. Jake can be found on Twitter here - @jakejackmann.

Everton

After failing in Greece on loan, Kevin Mirallas’ Everton career is surely over

The Belgian still has two years remaining on his contract at Goodison Park.

Max Cohen

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Kevin Mirallas
Photo: Getty Images

Once an integral part of the Belgian national team, Everton’s Kevin Mirallas was dealt a harsh blow when he was left out of his country’s World Cup squad by former manager Roberto Martinez this week.

The devastating news is the latest disappointment in what has been a failed season for the winger, leading many to wonder if Mirallas has played his last game for the Toffees.

It has been a sharp fall from grace for the 30-year-old, who signed a three-year contract at Goodison Park just 12 months ago.

At the time, Mirallas spoke of his desire to win trophies with Everton and the faith Ronald Koeman had in him. A year later, the Belgian’s situation could not be more different.

The winger made just two Premier League starts in the first half of the season, and was entirely left out of the match-day squad from late November to New Year’s Day.

(Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Due to Mirallas’ lack of opportunities at Goodison Park, he was sent on loan to Greek club Olympiacos in January.

He had previously enjoyed two fruitful years at the club from 2010-2012, even winning the league’s top scorer award in 2011/12.

Yet a return to the site of his former glory failed to produce the intended effect, as Mirallas contributed a disappointing two goals and two assists in 15 matches in all competitions.

In a country not known for its defensive prowess, the Belgian’s lack of attacking firepower is a worrying sign of a player on the decline.

And in early May, Mirallas was reportedly shipped back to Everton earlier than expected due to his poor performances, according to Belgian journalist Kristof Terreur.

Although there are two years left to run on Mirallas’ Everton contract, it looks increasingly unlikely that the winger will ever appear for the Toffees again.

Thanks to a failed loan spell in Greece and an abject run of form, Kevin Mirallas appears to be on his way out of Goodison Park this summer.

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Manchester United

“Imagine thinking Phil Jones is better”: Newcastle fans react to Jamaal Lascelles omission

Newcastle fans can’t believe Jamaal Lascelles is not going to the World Cup this summer.

Max Cohen

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Jamaal Lascelles
Photo: Getty Images

Chelsea narrowly defeated Manchester United in Saturday’s FA Cup Final, thanks to Eden Hazard’s first-half penalty.

United centre-half Phil Jones conceded the spot-kick, felling the Belgian in the box and drawing the ire of Twitter in the process.

Newcastle United supporters were baffled at Jones’ poor cup final performance and criticised England manager Gareth Southgate for selecting the 26-year-old defender ahead of Jamaal Lascelles in the World Cup squad.

Against Chelsea, Jones made headlines for his high-profile mistake 20 minutes into the match.

The defender was caught flat-footed just inside his own half when Cesc Fabregas played a lofted ball in the direction of Eden Hazard.

The Belgian’s first touch was excellent and left Jones for dead, putting the Englishman on the wrong side of the ball.

(Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Hazard then cut back across Jones, before the defender lunged into an ill-timed challenge that got nowhere near the ball.

In a cup final of such importance, mistakes such as Jones’ can prove immensely costly. And as United lost the match by the solitary goal, the centre-back’s error was devastating.

And the Manchester United defender’s poor showing incensed English supporters, who were furious at his inclusion in Gareth Southgate’s 23-man team.

In particular, Newcastle United fans felt aggrieved that Jones was selected in front of their captain Jamaal Lascelles.

Lascelles has been superb all season for the Magpies, marshaling the Newcastle defence while leading the club to an impressive tenth-placed finish.

Unlike Jones, who has been an inconsistent feature in United’s side, Lascelles featured in 33 Premier League matches this season – ten more than the United defender.

The Newcastle United faithful expressed their discontent at the England manager’s defensive team selections, arguing Lascelles would have proved a far more effective option in Russia.

And as one intrepid Twitter user noted, when Newcastle United played host to Chelsea just one week ago, Lascelles kept Hazard in check and held the Blues scoreless. Jones, on the other hand, capitulated in the face of the Belgian’s skills.

England face Belgium on 28 June in their final group stage match; Newcastle and Three Lions fans alike will be praying Phil Jones does not feature.

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Tottenham Hotspur

After injury-stricken season, new Tottenham contract offers hope for Harry Winks

The 22-year-old put pen to paper on a new deal at White Hart Lane.

Max Cohen

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Harry Winks
Photo: Getty Images

This week began with deflating news for Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Harry Winks.

On Wednesday, England’s World Cup squad was announced, with Winks missing out due to injury – a saddening sight as many believed he would have been a key player if fully fit.

But, just a day later, the 22-year-old was handed a massive boost when he signed a new five-year contract for Spurs.

The deal offers much-needed hope to a player who has endured a horrid 12 months, revealing that Mauricio Pochettino firmly believes in the central midfielder despite his recent injury woes.

Winks’ heartbreak began on 1 April 2017, when the youngster was stretchered off before half-time in Tottenham’s clash away at Burnley.

The right ankle injury ruled out Winks for the closing stages of the 2016/17 campaign, and the Englishman hoped to return rejuvenated for the following season.

(Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Initially, it seemed as the creative midfielder had overcome the ankle pain, as Winks starred in a  number of Spurs’ high-profile matches in the fall.

Impressing in Tottenham’s famous Champions League wins over Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund, he was rewarded with an England call-up in October.

Yet, in a league match against Palace the following month, he was forced off at half-time due to a recurrence of the ankle injury.

After that point, Winks’ season was never the same. Limited to just a handful of FA Cup appearances in 2018, Winks last played in the Premier League on Boxing Day.

The midfielder is now set to undergo ankle surgery this week, hoping that next season he can finally start anew and recapture his top form.

Now that Winks has a stable long-term future at the club, his rehabilitation process will be filled with far less stress and apprehension.

Mauricio Pochettino views the 22-year-old as integral to his future plans at White Hart Lane, and the boost of an extended contract is brilliant news for the England international’s fledgling career.

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