Aleksandar Mitrovic went into the World Cup full of confidence.

The Newcastle striker top scorer in the group as Serbia comfortably qualified for the finals in Russia.

The 12 goals for Fulham at better than a goal every two games as he spearheaded them to promotion at Wembley in the play-off final.

A hat-trick in the final World Cup warm-up match against Bolivia, the scene was set.

There was no shortage of confidence from Mitro, much of his build up play was excellent and his interplay with teammates impressing a lot of the time.

However, one statistic stands out a mile.

In the final analysis after Serbia’s exit on Wednesday night, the fact is that Aleksandar Mitrovic had a massive 14 shots in this World Cup and scored only the once.

As his country’s main source of goals, their chances of progressing were always going to largely stand on whether the former Anderlecht striker could convert.

The first group game against Costa Rica saw Mitrovic fail to convert two excellent chances, Kolarov sparing his blushes with a superb free-kick for a 1-0 win.

Against Switzerland he had an excellent game and scored a very good header early on. No real sitters missed but a number of half-chances not converted, Switzerland punishing Serbia for not converting their first half superiority into a bigger lead and coming back to win 2-1.

Wednesday night against World Cup favourites Brazil, once again Aleksandar Mitrovic did a good job for his team in general play but when the key moments came, he was fund wanting.

He headed the ball straight at Brazil defender Miranda after Alisson had flapped at a cross, the goal gaping with no goalkeeper and only that one defender to head it past. Serbia were well on top at that point and an equaliser could have changed the game.

That was quickly followed by a quality right wing cross which Mitrovic could only head straight at Alisson from eight yards out and the chance was gone, along with Serbia’s hopes.

That proved to be Mitro’s 14th and final shot of these World Cup finals.

He can look back on a decent World Cup campaign but one that could have been so much more.

That moment in the Switzerland game when he was dragged down by two Swiss defenders was of course a disgrace with no penalty given BUT Mitro did still have enough good/very good chances to have not needed intervention by VAR.

He is what he is, as evidenced by this World Cup.

A good striker, sometimes capable of being very good, but not a natural goalscorer.

In today’s world/market that makes him a £20m striker and arguably as good as Newcastle can expect to get at this moment in time.

No doubt arguments will continue to rage between Newcastle fans as to his suitability, as Mitrovic has given plenty of ammunition for both sides on his Russian adventure.

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  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    I wouldn`t be paying anywhere near £20m for him, the original figure when he went to Fulham was £15m, if offered that take it
    if the idiot Penfold starts his antics we`ll end up with Sels, Mbemba & Mitrovich still on the books next season.

    • Peaky

      I’m wondering if that’s Fatty’s plan now Moose…..outprice 3 players that want to leave…..they are stuck here with a manager who doesn’t rate them and then eventually the disharmony and splits start in the dressing room……all Rafa’s fault of cause when he’s gibbering away to his mates on Sky…..fat piece of 💩……😡😡

      • mentalman

        or rafa is on the verge of walking away and MA wants to keep them for the new manager to decide on their futures

        • Mark Potter

          If he would allow a new manager to decide on their futures, then that must mean Ashley doesn’t call all the shots, nor is he purely interested in making money. Right?

      • Mark Potter

        How would there be splits in the dressing room? Both Mitro and Sels would go back out on loan, if there were no buyers. And Mbemba seems to be a quiet character, not someone to make a fuss. If he wasn’t that way he would have joined Colback with the kids, or also gone on loan, a long time ago.

        Anyway, I’m sure Sels, Colback and Mbemba will be gone. And Mitro has given himself every chance of finding a new club by his performance at the WC (if he even needed to prove himself).

  • TheFatController

    ‘Former Valencia, Liverpool, Inter, Napoli, Real Madrid manager shamed for having “personal vendetta” with Serbian striker by people with, just maybe, a personal vendetta against him.’

    Maybe?

    • Mike Adam

      Yes a “personal vendetta” when a useless Hoss is played instead.

      • TheFatController

        Joselu rarely plays. What a ridiculous comment therefore.

        • Mike Adam

          Wrong again, in the first half while Mitro was here the Hoss played plenty.

          • TheFatController

            Yes, because mitro got banned after coming on against West Ham.

            So Rafa had to play Joss because his second striker was banned.

            But carry on playing the big victim by ignoring the 3 match ban that undermines you somewhat…

            Am I wrong again again?

          • Mike Adam

            Yes, definately, “Joselu rarely plays” was what you said, and that was incorrect. Big victim, go put that garbage on someone else’s plate. I have never played Mitro as the victim. But I do contend that footballers are treated differently, just depends who you are. Kane and Alli don’t see red when they commit similar fouls as the Shelvey’s and Mitro’s of the football world. How about Ronaldo in the World Cup? If that would have been Mitro, I bet he would have seen straight red. Look at the non call on the mugging in the box, not only wasn’t a clear penalty called, but Mitro was called for an offensive foul. Continue to bring up his discipline, for two seasons not a problem except one unclear play that happend and was cited after the fact because of who it was. Kane’s tackle in the first match of the season wasn’t reviewed and given red like it should have, because of who he was. You call it playing the victim, I call it being fair and just for all players and footballers are not treated the same.

          • Billmag

            Oops Spuds game winning easily could have seriously injured Walker, sent off needlessly.

          • Mike Adam

            Oops Spuds game 0 – 0 Jonjo sent off and has a worse discipline record. Oops Kane tackle on Lejeune, did injure him, not sent off. Should have been a straight red, but not against Harry.

          • Billmag

            Mitro, Mitro, Mitro, that’s the topic of the conversation not anyone else, that’s it lm done.

          • Mike Adam

            Who cares about a match 3 seasons ago. You want to discuss a red card from 3 seasons ago? His discipline has been fine over the last 2 seasons, so what is your point???

          • Billmag

            My point is the same as it’s always been Mitro is untrustworthy and not good enough for NUFC, your argument doesn’t hold up either you say why discuss something that happened 3 seasons ago and yet you bring Messi and Ronaldo into your argument, this is the last post I will respond to you as you say who cares with a bit of luck he will be gone anyway.

          • Mike Adam

            So you say, lets let him prove his worth wherever he plays next year. That is what counts.

  • Lyle

    Get shot before others realise he’s a plodding passenger who scores the odd goal when playing mainly against the average teams.

    • Mike Adam

      Yes you are correct, Man City, ManU, Spurs, Chelsea, and Arsenal in the Champions League just to name a few of the average teams he has scored agaisnt.

      • Lyle

        Christ man he’s a donkey man, doing nothing but sitting up front waiting for others to do all the work so he can score an occasional goal it’s like playing with ten men. Shearer, Lineker, Benitez think as do I all he’s a donkey. EEYORE !

        • Mike Adam

          You make really nice donkey sounds, are you part donkey or something??? Playing with 10 men is what Rafa does when he plays Joselu, MAN.

          • Lyle

            Hold on Joselu who brought him into the discussion ? everyone knows his limitations but what has that anything to do with Mitrobloodyvic.

          • Mike Adam

            I did. You called Mitro a donkey and it is my opinion that the real donkey was played by Rafa instead of MItro.

          • Lyle

            This is not a logical discussion you’re obviously a Mitrovic groupie and beyond a reasonable debate. Bye Bye by the way (Does your mother know you’re out) ?

          • Mike Adam

            Why? “Does your mother know you are out” that is real mature.

          • Lyle

            Yes I know that’s why I said it.

          • Lyle

            I know, but thanks anyway !

  • ghostrider

    Simple case of Mitrovic.
    A striker who Rafa Benitez has issues with and choses to play Joselu instead. That to me is a despicable act upon Newcastle United fans and club.
    Fans are calling mitrovic…basically a nobody because they’re so infatuated with having a manager like Rafa Benitez who they treat as some kind of messiah.

    Mitrovic is so average that he generally gets doubled up on in games and constantly clattered by hatchet mento nullify his game.
    He’s not a racehorse, he’s a striker that can cause a massive nuisance around the box and create openings for his team mates, as well as taking his own share of chances against thew odds.

    Mitrovic has been cruelly wasted by Rafa Benitez for near 2 years and it’s sickening.

    • Tino11

      Here is the usual attack on Rafa by Ghostpooper, never misses a chance to have a go at the manager who we would have been relegated without. He is simply jealous because Rafa gets all the ❤️️ where as everyone here thinks Ghostpooper talks a load of 💩.

    • TheFatController

      He’s a professional footballer. You make him sound like Oliver Twist in the workhouse being denied porridge by a callous authority.

      Your emotive gushings can be filed under first world problems.

    • Damon Horner

      “He’s not a racehorse, he’s a striker” – that’s the problem, his strike rate for a striker is average which often usually means he gets judged as an average player. He is a creative nuisance with how many assists? Your use of the words “despicable” and “sickening” tell me this really is all about attention.

      • ghostrider

        Then don’t give me any.

  • Rob Brown

    Valid piece, but any Toon fan figured that out as soon as we got him

    The guy couldn’t finish a sandwich.

    Championship = Do-able
    Bolivia = Perfect
    Prem = Seriously?

  • Wor Lass

    He is slow and he does miss chances but all strikers do – I`d like to see some statistics about how many balls into the box he had to attack – especially last night. The service to him has been poor.

  • Mike Adam

    Yeah Mitro only scored as many goals in the group stage as Neymar and Messi, yet is critisized again for not being good enough and unable to finish. Last time I checked there are 10 other players on the pitch and when Mitro is being double-teamed one of them should be open to put one home. Many of you including Rafa critisize him for being slow and not able to carry out a high pressing role as a striker. Rafa choosing the Hoss as more capable, well what a joke IMO! What do some of you want from the lad??? I really do not believe we will sign anyone that is better, but only time will tell.

    • Billmag

      Why do you insist on bringing Joselu into the argument the lad hardly played after Xmas, and the manager knows both players limitations he’s had both players under his wing. And just for the record Joselu would have scored with that chance Mitro missed last night IMO.(chuckles).

      • Mike Adam

        Yeah LOL. Because that is my argument. Mitro should have played or at least been given a run of games to show what he could have done in the first half last season. He was basically completely ignored while we were being shut out 14 times. Why are so many supposed fans of NUFC against this kid?

        • TheFatController

          I think the Mitro supporters use smoke and mirrors on this issue.

          Toon fans don’t have it in for Mitro, they are just exasperated by the bizarre ‘Rafa can’t manage because his petty unprofessional approach to Mitro proves he’s not the man for us’ comments on here.

          It’s really weird, then we see made up nonsense like ‘he happily plays Joselu’ when
          – he doesn’t
          – he has given mitro plenty of game time – in his last few PL games Rafa gave him he was sent off or banned for violence in two games with little riding on them when the indicents happened

          But don’t let the truth get in the way of playing the big victim – when oh when will you mitro fans get justice with Rafa?

          • Mike Adam

            Your opinion and you are entitled to it. He was given no chance last year. Rafa is a great manager, but I support a club and as a free thinking fan I question things that are done when I see fit. As for the victim thing that is others stance not mine. I simply contend that Mitro is a much better player than given credt for and should have been given a run of games by the manager, when we were shut out 14 times, that is over one third of our games we didn’t score. That is my only argument, period. Until we get someone proven better and while Mitro is still part of the team, I will contend that he should be playing.

          • thewildchimp

            Well-put.

        • Billmag

          I’m for the manager he is a better judge than you or I.

          • Mike Adam

            Fair enough, just my opinion nothing more.

          • thewildchimp

            No, a better judge is the one who is right. With Mitro sidelined we can only guess.

      • thewildchimp

        Joselu would never have gotten into such great chances.

  • Ram Kishore

    No DAMNING stats in here to make a opinion ..
    Even Messi just one, German strikers scored nothing

  • Desree

    The good news is his discipline has improved. I am not against keeping Mitro but he would have to change his game.

    Mitro should have scored 2 against Brazil. So it is a worry that like Gayle he is a super strain the championship.

    The lad is getting 60k a week for training a few hours. Not sure why ghost buster is upset, it is hardly an abuse of human rights.

    • Mike Adam

      Should have had 2 against Brazil, so easy to say. They are split second reactions that occur and you want him to be perfect, well no player is perfect. Not Messi, Neymar, or Ronaldo who did things on the pitch that Mitro would have seen red for. Answer one question please, did you prefer Hoss playing ahead of Mitro in the first half of the season?

      • Billmag

        Yes he should have scored against Everton and Villa in our relegation season and we may not have gone down, they weren’t split second decision’s there was no one near him.

        • Mike Adam

          That is right, I forgot that we would have stayed up had Mitro scored those two goals. Not one other player on the team had anything to do with being relagated, what a joke!!!!!

          • Desree

            Mitros Agent is posting now.

          • Mike Adam

            I wish, I would be making more than a teacher’s salary then.
            Team sport with 11 players on the pitch. How many goals did Gini score on the road that year?

          • Billmag

            Not on about Gini anyway he isn’t a striker but scored two more goals than Mitro. Not to worry I sort of admire your stance and backing of him.

          • Mike Adam

            Thanks, and I respect everyone else’s opinion. I just don’t follow the “whatever the manager says” school of thought.

          • Billmag

            No joke pal reality you are always on about 14 shut outs well there’s two instances where the great Mitro let us down.

          • Mike Adam

            First of all those two instances you bring up are in a different season than the 14 times we were shut out last season. What about the 19 road games that Gini couldn’t score in??? Had 2 more goals than Mitro in much more playing time, so I would say according to your logic he let us down much more than Mitro ever did that season. Maybe it was his fault we got relagated that year. Or maybe it was Sissoko for his lack of effort, or Colo for getting beat and allowing goals. Oh but that’s right it was Mitro’s fault because of the two goals he didn’t score that season!!!!

      • TheFatController

        So there you have it readers. Mitro is right up there with Messi and Neymar. Can’t you see it?

        • Mike Adam

          Fat, are you for real??? Point is, since you are not capable of understanding, is that Mitro is being critisized for scoring the same number of goals as those two perfect, world class players. I watched both miss golden opportunities as well during group play.

          • TheFatController

            Nope, I’m a bot.

            I am capable of understanding. You’re emotion is blinding you to Mitro’s failings as a footballer.

            Try understanding ‘confirmation bias’. Because you are guilty of it on this.

          • Mike Adam

            I have “confirmation bias” when you accuse me of saying that Mitro is as good as Neymar and Messi when I did no such thing. I simply have an opinion. And by the way I have never said Mitro is anywhere near perfect, I have simply said he is the best striker we have in my opinion and should have played more last season in the first half. That is it, not emotional, not confimation bias, and not bashing Rafa as others do.

      • Desree

        I did prefer Hoss and here is why. He gives more to the team than goals. If Mitro isn’t scoring he tends to be a liability. His finishing is not much better than the Hoss based on the chances I have seen him miss.
        I would love for hoss,Gayle and Mitro to be better, but they are all Championship strikers at best.
        Let’s look at it objectively. World Cup you are up against premier league quality. 14 attempts and one goal is about on par with the Hoss and Gayle in the PL.

        • Mike Adam

          I respect your opinion, but I will take Mitro over the Hoss everyday of the week.

        • thewildchimp

          It isn’t so. Hoss and Gayle do not get themselves into position 14 times per 3 game. Mitro gets into more chances per game in general, so he is a better forward. Also, he plays others a lot. Overall, he is far above them and that’s why he is valued twice as much as Gayle and four times as much as Joselu. Benitez doesn’t really want any of the three.

          • Desree

            If Mitro is to get 15 goals per season we would need to create 210 scoring chances for him per season. Maybe that is why Rafa doesn’t rate Mitro.

          • Mike Adam

            Wish everything in life and football worked out that way but they don’t. It is just amazing to me how some just cannot give this guy an ounce of credit for anything, no matter what. He could come back for our club and score 15 – 20 goals and there would still be those spouting negativity.

      • Desree

        Harry Kane, 6 shots and 5 goals. Lukaku 5 shots and 4 goals. Mitro 14 shots 1 goal.

        All three are premiere league strikers

        • Mike Adam

          Your comparing them not me. I have never compared him to those two, only against our own strikers. Shots alone do not tell a complete story, so compare away!

        • thewildchimp

          Yes, they are better players and that is reflected in their respective salaries. Can we afford their level of quality? No, we can’t, even if Ashley tried. Not at this point, at least.

  • Mike Adam

    It is hard for me to understand why some of you attack our own player the way you do with Mitro. You are all entitled to your opinions and I respect those opinions. All this guy ever wanted was to come and play for his favorite childhood club. A little over zealous at first, but bled black and white! He has been blamed for us being relegated while being the second leading scorer on the team, joke! What about the rest of the players, hell Gini didn’t score a road goal all season!!! He was critisized for his performance in the Championship, given little playing time he was 3rd on the team in assists and had a great discipline record. Then this past season was given no chance to play, while we had to watch the Hoss get the majority of time in the first half. He then went on loan and helped Fulham first make the playoffs and then win promotion, but was again was ripped for his play in the final. Now the World Cup many only point out that he didn’t score on some chances, well neither did Messi and Neymar. What about the positives? What do you want from this guy? He is still improving and deserves better in my opinion. He is still an NUFC player until he is sold. And realistically who do think we are going to get that is so much better. I hope we do get this “World Class” striker that you are all dreaming of, but chances are we won’t.

    • TheFatController

      I don’t think it’s that they’re against Mitro.

      I’m not. He’s been a good striker for us.

      But I am sick of hearing about him. For a club with an owner always pressing self destruct with transfer window silence then Sky interviews, and the negativity that follows him like a dark cloud that this hangs over the club, it makes me ask this question

      ‘Why are we fiddling (talking about our fairly good striker who doesn’t fit the way we play) when Rome constantly burns (the club constantly lurches from one disaster / relegation to the next)…?

      If by playing Mitro, Staveley would offer £400m, I might understand the ‘Mitro should get a better chance’ debate, but outside of that ‘cause and effect’ I’m finding his championing a little OTT.

      • Mike Adam

        Yes, I totally agree about the clowns who run the club. But that has nothing to do with the constant Mitro bashing by some. “Currently” he is our best striker, yet doesn’t play. That will most likely change, but until it does I will never understand the negativity towards one of our own, who bleeds black and white.

      • thewildchimp

        It’s because there’s nothing else to talk about but the players, and we only had Mitro at the Cup. Those anti-Ashley talks and takeover topics can only lead to insanity. Ashley is a crook, nobody actually tries to stop him, move along, nothing new.

    • Desree

      How about we compare Mitro to Kane and Lukaku as they play in the same league.

      • Mike Adam

        Are they coming to play for us Desree? Yes let’s compare his 89 minutes played in the PL last year with Kane and Lukaku, what are you talking about? And where do I mention or compare him to them? My only contention is he is the best we have, yet not played last season, that is it plain and simple. No comparisons to Kane or Lukaku.

        • Desree

          You’re the one comparing Mitro to neymar and messi.

          • Mike Adam

            During one 3 match competition.

          • Desree

            Mitros performance at the world cup is what should be expected of a below average premier league striker.

            He should have scored two against Brazil.

            The misses were very much in character with Mitro and what we should expect.

            I have nothing against the lad.

          • Mike Adam

            Wrong, I said they also missed chances during games in the World Cup, that is all.

  • Mike Adam

    Let me ask you all this, how many of you would take Shaqiri and his great technical skills right now?

  • thewildchimp

    Mitro should have done better at the Cup, especially against Costa Rica, but the poor Serbian side did him no favours. Especially the fact that the team had no manager, but the very definition of a “yes-man”, as people were saying before. Having no real strategy and designated ball-handlers resulted in awful transitions and low-quality passing. Thus, impairing his chances.
    If we look at the positives, he contributed massively to the team against Costa Rica with perfect touches and deft passes and was threatening against Brazil. He was not allowed to play against the Swiss, which is understandable considering that the FIFA president is from Switzerland, as is the head-ref. All-in-all: a decent World Cup for him. He is an asset to us, whether he stays or gets sold for a decent amount. Messi and Neymar scored only once as well, so why is Mitro suddenly considered so inept?

    • Mike Adam

      Well said chimp

    • Billmag

      You are just as silly as that other person who’s been shouting his cause, to actually mention the world’s two best players in the same post as that donkey means that you are inept, I won’t mention the other word you used in your last paragraph because that would bring me down to your level.

      • Mike Adam

        Why Bill? All three scored same amount of goals in the competition.
        But Mitro is a donkey and inept, you are the silly one. What the hell do you have against him???

        • Billmag

          I said he was a donkey and the poster was inept.

          • thewildchimp

            Do tell: why is my analysis inept, as brief as it might be?
            As far as the 2015/16 goes: do you really think that one our top scorers AND assisters is to blame? Because he had a few misses near the end? Mate, he is the biggest reason we even had a chance of staying up. His hold up plays were what was driving the team forward. But I guess he’s not Shearer, right? And some of the fans like him. So he’s a donkey because he doesn’t score as much as you want, right? But when Messi, Ronaldo, Neymar, Salah, Aguero, Kane and Lukaku miss sitters – it’s alright, because they are not Mitrovic? They are better, right? So it’s all forgiven. Because they don’t really play for Newcastle, so you don’t care. Objectivity – what a useless word. Right?

          • Billmag

            His hold up play was driving the team forward you must have been watching a different Mitro to me, I don’t dislike the boy I just don’t think he warrant’s a place in our team. The player’s you mention do miss sitters but the very same player’s will score one out of every two chance’s would Mitro ? .

      • thewildchimp

        Why are you insulting the lad? That’s my issue here. You simply don’t like him. It has nothing to do with his abilities. YOU say he is not good enough, while Chris Hughton and Slavisha Jokanovic, two premier league managers, say he is. Rafa refused to sell him to Brighton, which proves he rates him as well, just doesn’t want him.

        • Billmag

          Slow and cumbersome comes to mind, I think I would rather take Rafa’s judgement than the two manager’s you mention. We will probably see just how good he is next season when he turns out for Fulham.

          • thewildchimp

            Fair enough.

  • East Durham Mag

    The Championship seems to be his level.

  • 1957

    For me Mitrovic is more suited to playing upfront with a regular goal scoring partner, in a Wyn Davies to Pop Robson or John Tudor to Malcolm MacDonald. We know that would never happen under Benitez, even if Ashley funded another striker, one up front means its best for everyone if Aleksandar moves on, especially him.

    • Desree

      The argument about Mitro, Hoss and Gayle is the same argument we would have had if Cole and Beardsley were not bought.

      Arguing if Kelly, Peacock or Quinn was the best, when none were up to PL quality as strikers.

      If only!