Just how good is Mitrovic?

There are few things Newcastle United fans love more than a goalscoring striker, preferably one wearing the number nine jersey. While Newcastle has seen a number of strikers come and go over the past ten years, none have managed to fill the sizeable boots left by Sir Alan of Shearer. In fact, not since the Geordie legend hung up his boots have we really seen a prolific forward in a Newcastle shirt. Andy Carroll and Loic Remy may have well gone on to enjoy real success at St James’ Park had either stayed at the club, but ten years since Shearer retired, we are still desperately looking for a rightful heir to his throne.

With Papiss Cisse currently occupying the famous number nine shirt, and doing an extremely mediocre job of it, the arrival of Aleksandar Mitrovic in the summer had some members of the Toon Army believing the club may well have found the answer to our prayers. Over halfway through his first season in English football, Mitrovic has shown glimpses of being a very good player without totally convincing everyone he is the man to score the 20-plus goals top strikers achieve on a regular basis.

After making a name for himself in his native Serbia, Mitrovic spent two successful seasons in Belgium with Anderlecht, scoring 36 goals in his 69 appearances in the league. It was then that Newcastle shelled out £13million to bring the striker to the Premier League, where it’s fair to say the youngster made an immediate impact, albeit not in the way he would have wanted, picking up a booking 22 seconds into his debut. This set the trend for the first few weeks of Mitrovic’s time in England, one that has made him a popular choice with fans looking at betting on the striker to end a game with a least a yellow card to his name.

By the time the Serbian international had scored his first goal for his new club, in the 6-1 defeat to Manchester City, the striker had already been booked three times and had been sent off in his fifth appearance. Since that goal, the forward has gone on to add another four to his collection, including a vital winner in Newcastle’s recent 1-0 win over West Brom in a result that saw the club climb out of the bottom three. Shortly after the hosts had seen a Cheick Tiote strike ruled out, Mitrovic sent the home fans into raptures with a cool finish just after the half-hour mark to notch up his fifth goal in a Newcastle shirt.

St James' Park

“St James Park” by domfell

While some will feel the striker still hasn’t shown he is anywhere near the level Newcastle are going to need if they are going to become a team capable of finishing in the top half of the table, the 21-year-old has done a lot to win over the fans. As well as his clear determination and willingness to get stuck in, often at the expense of a booking, the youngster has shown he is a goalscorer. With six months experience of both the English style of football and the unique pressure of playing for Newcastle under his belt, the hope is that the Serbian can now go on and prove he is the man to lead the Magpies back into the big time.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login