Continuing our end of the season coverage, our staff is bringing you all another end of the season award with all the dopest takes out there. Today’s focus is on Newcastle’s most improved player, which of yielded a variety of takes. Enjoy them all!
Greg Troxell - Jonjo Shelvey
There was a lot written about the difficulties that Jonjo had playing in Rafa’s system. He never achieved more than 1 goal in each of the last two seasons. This season, with Bruce at the helm, Jonjo has been able to open up. Bruce used Jonjo as a focal point in the middle of our attack and he was able to ping the ball upfield and track in behind. With 6 goals and 2 assists, Jonjo led the team in PL goals. That isn’t something to be proud of for a Newcastle supporter, but for Jonjo it’s probably a big deal. I hope we continue to see this improvement moving forward.
Zack Pensak - Javier Manquillo
Although the dashing Spaniard only started eighteen matches for Newcastle this season, his impact could not be understated. Right-back has been one of, if not the most, weak positions for the club over the last few years, and although Emil Krafth was brought in to provide depth in the summer, worries continued to be abound of the lack of a standout starter. However, Manquillo’s emerged as the “best of the rest” to be deployed on the right side of a four-man backline, and started every game in which that formation was used from February 29th against Burnley until the end of the season. At 26, next year could be massive in determining the trajectory of his career, and I for one am praying he starts week-in and week-out for the Toon.
Bryan Nelson - Miguel Almiron
Tone was hard but I certainly found Miguel Almiron’s goalscoring arrival tantalizing. I think coming off a good start but with struggles to find the net really hurt the Paraguayan’s confidence, however, he’s managed to bounce back from that and become the club’s top scorer in all competitions. That’s improvement and adaptability. He showed it this year, just wait until next season.
Elijah Newsome - Miguel Almiron
Miggy, Miggy was indeed so fine this year. Miguel Almiron’s first dfew matched for Newcastle last season were impactful, but unfortunately his work rate and ability to create did not show up on the stat sheet. He finished last season with no goals and no assists, which left many fans questioning his value.
He followed that up with a fantastic season, where he cemented himself as one of the best players at the club. He was Newcastle’s leading scorer in all competitions (shout out to the FA Cup), and besides that he genuinely improved certain areas of his game that needed help last year.
Instead of relying solely on pace to sprint past defenders, we saw Miggy start to get creative in how he was able to beat defenders. Using a mixture of pace and skill moves Miggy became a threat with the ball as the season went on. His off ball movement increased tremendously. He often found himself in positions to score by crashing the box, making secondary runs, and having the tactical awareness to find potential gaps in the defense. His play improved tremendously when played at his preferred CAM role. With him and ASM given more freedom in the revamped 4-2-3-1 both players were a nightmare for defenders.
Oh yeah... and Miggy remembered he had a right foot.
Who was Newcastle’s most improved player this season?
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