A few Newcastle United fans have been reacting on social media after former head coach Steve McClaren discussed why Aleksandar Mitrovic departed St. James’ Park in 2018.
McClaren was in charge of the Magpies when the club signed Mitrovic from RSC Anderlecht in 2015, and has revealed, in quotes reported by the Chronicle, that he initially intended to use the Serbian as his back-up forward.
Injuries, however, dictated that Mitrovic was thrust into the starting frame early into his debut campaign in England, which would see him strike nine goals in 34 Premier League appearances.
Mitrovic would go on to add five more league goals to his Toon account during the 2016/17 Championship season, ahead of hitting the back of the net once in six top-flight outings before joining Fulham on loan.
He would later join the Cottagers in a permanent deal and has since scored 32 times in 71 games across all competitions, including 21 in 29 Championship fixtures this term, and McClaren feels it was Mitrovic’s attitude that meant he departed the North East in 2018.
“We signed him and he was a young player and we wanted him as the number two,” he said. “Unfortunately, we got injuries and we had to put him as the number one. He was immature and wasn’t ready for that. Hot-headed at the time. He got sent off. Discipline. He got frustrated and got down. And it’s a different level.
Would you try and bring Mitrovic back to St. James'?
“It’s 52,000 [at St. James’ Park], you have to handle the pressure, and he was too young to do that. He went out on loan, I thought he would score goals, which he did. He came back and I thought he would carry on scoring goals. And, unfortunately, it wasn’t for him and he moved on.”
Here are some of the messages shared as fans reacted to McClaren’s remark…
It’s because Rafa didn’t rate him
— Kelvin Abbott (@kelvtoon) February 12, 2020
Because you were manager
— ToonBarmy2 (@Barmy2Toon) February 12, 2020
— Routbeard21 (@routsjr) February 12, 2020
Because he was the manager and was useless at building a team? somehow getting relegated with probably our 2nd best team under MA
— Matthew (@JB4t00n) February 12, 2020
He’s not a premiership quality striker
— Stuart Pearce (@stuart_pearce) February 12, 2020
Scored 11 in first season in premiership with a relegated https://t.co/irut4gn8Hm relegated last year with 10 .Both teams relegated due to woeful defending. Has 20 already after been out for weeks. Scores for Serbia regular. How is he not premiership when you see who we have
— Brian Robinson (@brobinson952) February 13, 2020
In other Newcastle United news, a £20m midfielder’s agent has confirmed his client would consider joining the Magpies this summer.