Newcastle Have A Player With "Diego Costa-Like Physicality", Believes McClaren

The NUFC head coach has praised Mitrovic.

Aleksandar Mitrovic could be handed his competitive debut for Newcastle United from the start against Southampton - because Steve McClaren thinks his "physicality" makes him as effective as Diego Costa. The Magpies begin their 2015-16 Barclays Premier League campaign against the Saints on Sunday (1.30pm kick-off) and McClaren has been finalising his starting XI over the past few days. And McClaren admits that the "edge" Mitrovic gives could potentially see the £13 million recruit from Anderlecht handed a starting berth ahead of Papiss Cisse, who netted 11 times in just 11 Premier League starts last season. The Magpies head coach believes Mitrovic has the same positive characteristics as Chelsea's Costa, whose 20 goals last season helped fire the Blues to the Premier League title.
Speaking to The Sun (paywall) ahead of the Magpies' opening fixture, McClaren said:
€œHe (Mitrovic) has an edge, doesn€™t he? He flippin' does. 'I like conflict, I like.' "He has that bit of Diego Costa. He likes physicality. There aren€™t many who are like that now. "You can see it in training, he likes that physical contact. He doesn€™t skulk around the training ground, he€™s always smiling. "But he€™s got those assassin€™s eyes. He€™s Serbian and he€™s an 'ic'. Be careful."
What's more, McClaren has intimated in the past that he could look to play two up top - so will Mitrovic partner, rather than replace, Cisse on Sunday? For all the latest NUFC News, Views and Transfers make sure to follow on Twitter and Facebook.

NUFC editor for History graduate (University of Edinburgh) and NCTJ-trained journalist. I love sports, hopelessly following Newcastle United and Newcastle Falcons. My pastimes include watching and attending sports matches religiously, reading spy books and sampling ales.