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Garth Crooks challenges Aleksandar Mitrovic to lose a stone and see the results

6 months ago
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Aleksandar Mitrovic was always going to be a big topic of conversation for Newcastle fans this season.

Moving to a Premier League rival and Mike Ashley refusing to give Rafa Benitez the kind of money (£22m rising to £27m) his sale generated. In fact, not even allowing the manager to make an offer to buy Salomon Rondon, instead only a £2m loan for a season.

So comparisons were always going to be made between how the two clubs were getting on and especially the part played by Aleksandar Mitrovic.

Newcastle fans have always been split about the striker, either believing he can be a really good goalscorer at Premier League level if getting the service, or alternatively a forward who is too immobile and doesn’t work hard enough for the team.

After five goals by the 22 September and Fulham doing relatively well the Mitro fans were in the ascendancy, then nine weeks with no goals and Fulham plunging to the bottom of the table, the doubters were claiming this was the reality.

After two goals for Fulham in their 3-2 win over Southampton, the arguments have sparked up again.

Aleksandar Mitrovic now has seven Premier League goals, only Aguero and Aubameyang (both with eight) have more.

Garth Crooks has entered the argument and when picking Mitrovic for his Premier League team of the week, has indicated that maybe both groups of Newcastle fans are right…

Garth Crooks after picking Aleksandar Mitrovic in his Premier League team of the week for BBC Sport:

“This is a player who knows what he’s doing in front of goal.

“His second was a most impressive finish and a reminder of how good the Serb is.

“There is no doubt that Mitrovic is a player but if he were to lose a stone in weight and get really fit what an asset Fulham would have then.

“Claudio Ranieri got away with this result and needs reinforcements fast if he’s to stay in the top flight.

“He needs to get in touch with Danny Drinkwater.

“The midfielder is twiddling his thumbs down the road at Chelsea and needs to rebuild his career. Who knows Drinkwater better than Ranieri?

“Did you know? Mitrovic has scored more headed goals than any other Premier League player this season (4).”

So is Garth Crooks right?

Is Alekandar Mitrovic somebody who is an excellent goalscorer but needs to get the service or otherwise he is a liability, due to not being enough to work hard for the team?

Certainly when it comes to goals, you can’t argue since Newcastle let him go out on loan at the end of January this year.

In less than 10 months he has this record in the league for Fulham and Serbia at international level:

Fulham:

Championship – 12 goals in 18 starts and 2 sub appearances (total of 1,653 minutes)

Premier League – 7 goals in 13 starts and 0 sub appearances (total of 1,166 minutes)

Serbia:

12 goals in 13 starts and 0 sub appearances (1,106 minutes)

In these past 10 months a total of 31 goals in 44 starts (2 from bench) in 3,955 minutes of play, an average of a goal every 127 minutes.

Garth Crooks seems to be suggesting Aleksandar Mitrovic is potentially capable of becoming a real top striker but we will only find out IF he gets properly fit.

One to keep an eye on and of course plenty of Newcastle fans will be doing so.

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