Thursday 25 April 2019

Almiron ‘way too good for MLS’ – Paraguayan backed to shine in Premier League

The South American forward joined Newcastle for a club-record fee in January.

Newcastle’s Miguel Almiron (left) has been tipped to make a big impact in the Premier League (Owen Humphreys/PA)
Newcastle’s Miguel Almiron (left) has been tipped to make a big impact in the Premier League (Owen Humphreys/PA)

By Ken Gaunt, Press Association Sport

Miguel Almiron has been tipped to make a big impact at Newcastle after leaving a lasting legacy in the United States

Leeds-born striker Jackson Conway was sorry to see the Paraguay international depart Atlanta United but fully understands his reasons for doing so.

Conway, who signed his first professional contract with Atlanta around his 17th birthday last December, said: “Miguel was way too good for this league.

“Having trained with him and watching him play, he makes you smile. What he does and the way he acts off the field, he is always smiling.

“Hats off to him for making that move. I have no doubt he will be good for Newcastle. He is a bit different to what you see in the Premier League, a midfielder who drives at people.

“Yes, for sure, he is an inspiration, not just myself but all the young guys in the squad. It shows what can be achieved if you work hard.”

A strong connection between Atlanta and Newcastle remains, however, with former Magpies forward Stephen Glass being appointed coach of the United Soccer League side.

Glass moved to St James’ Park in 1998 from Aberdeen and made 42 appearances in three years.

The ex-Scotland midfielder then carved out a coaching career in America and stepped up from Atlanta’s academy to take charge of Atlanta United 2 where Conway is honing his craft.

Conway, who stands 6ft 2ins tall, said: “I have worked with Stephen Glass before and he brings a lot of experience as a coach and a player. It should be a bit more fun this season than last, which is key with it being a new team.

“But he will let you know if you are doing wrong. I really like him and so do the other guys in the squad as well.

“I am confident in my ability. I am good in the air and like to hold the ball up and try and run in behind the defenders as well. I scored 45-46 goals in one season in the academy but I do not set any targets.”

Conway does not feel the pressure like some of the squad’s senior citizens,explaining: “ We have some players who have to provide for their families while I still live with my family.”

Conway’s grandfather Jim played for Celtic – his dad Jon played semi-pro – and was a close friend of Jock Stein and Sir Alex Ferguson.

That bond saw Conway introduced to his Manchester United idol Wayne Rooney, now playing his trade in MLS with DC United.

“He (Rooney) was friendly but there was a bit of edge to him as well,” said Conway, who has played for the United States at youth level. However he is also eligible for England and Scotland because of his family background

Conway added: “Signing a pro contract, like my grandfather once did, was a big step and I am thrilled to following in his footsteps.”

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