RAFA BENITEZ is tempted to start Miguel Almiron against Huddersfield next weekend despite the new boy failing to shine in Spain.
Newcastle’s £20.7million club record signing played the first half in today’s 1-1 friendly draw with CSKA Moscow at the Pinatar Arena.
And while Almiron had little impact, Benitez has been impressed with his attitude during the week-long training camp, which followed his debut off the bench at Wolves on Monday.
Asked if he would through him against the Terriers, the Toon boss admitted: “It could be perfect. It also could be perfect to play him in the last ten minutes and he scores the winning goals.
“It is just a question of his understanding with the others to see if he can start or not – but I am sure he will give us something.
“He is someone who is working hard, trying to be involved and his commitment is positive for the team.
“He has stamina, he has pace, he is very dynamic – he is giving us what we were expecting.
“In terms of his attitude, you can see that he is quite good. To play with the others in this game was important for the understanding between everyone.
“Now we have to see during the week how he trains and what he does. After we will decide the team against Huddersfield.”
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Almiron, who joined from Atlanta United on deadline day, started against CSKA to the left of Salomon Rondon in a front three.
He played in Mo Diame for one early chance, which the Senegalese ballooned over.
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Yet while the pacey Paraguayan buzzed around and tried to get involved in the action, he saw little of the ball.
Newcastle’s 16th-minute opener came from the opposite flank as Florian Lejeune played a raking pass out to DeAndre Yedlin on the right.
The American swept a cross in and with CSKA failing to clear, Rondon controlled with his chest and then buried into the bottom right corner.
Newcastle, though, conceded five minutes before the break as former Hull striker Abel Hernandez tapped in the rebound after Karl Darlow had done well to keep out Fyodor Chalov’s shot.
Almiron made way at half-time as Benitez changed all 11 players, with Yoshinori Muto missing a sitter to win it late on.
Under-fire keeper Martin Dubravka was the only sub not to make an appearance.
While Jonjo Shelvey missed the match, although he has been training in Spain as he recovers from his thigh injury.
Benitez added: “He was joining the team in part of the training sessions but was not ready for a game. We will see how he progresses during the week.
“But now we have players coming back and they are fit, maybe you don’t need to take any risk.”