The Newcastle striker has belatedly announced himself on Tyneside with two goals in as many games, including a sumptuous left-foot volley in Sunday’s 6-2 Barclays Premier League thumping of Norwich, after initially falling foul of officialdom during his first few weeks in English football. Mitrovic, a £13million summer signing from Anderlecht, has reined himself in since collecting two yellow cards and one red in his first five games for the club, much to manager Steve McClaren’s delight, but he wants the 21-year-old Serbia international to push the line in Sunday’s derby trip to Sunderland. Press Association Aleksandar Mitrovic has been told to “play close to the edge” as he gets his first taste of the Wear-Tyne derby. McClaren said: “There is always a fine dividing line, always fine. He has played smart. I would say he has been playing smart, and that is what we have been telling him, be smart. That’s what he has done. “Smart and effective. You can play smart and be ineffective, but play on the line and play smart. “He got sent off against Arsenal and could have been against Southampton, and they were not derbies, but that was a willingness to win and playing on the edge, on that line. “That’s what you have got to do in every game, not just say, ‘Oh, we will choose a derby game and do it now’. We need that every game. “He has shown a level of maturity in the last three games. But again, we are not getting carried away and saying, ‘Woah!’. “We knew there was a bit of the devil [in him], to be perfectly honest, and that has added to our game. We need that, but we need control and that is the key on Sunday.” Mitrovic is rapidly establishing himself as a cult hero at St James’ Park after a shaky start, but McClaren is keen to keep his feet firmly on the ground despite the ovation he received last weekend. He said: “There’s a long way to go. It was nice, but we won’t get carried away by that. The team this week has certainly not got carried away by anything.”
Published on November 7, 2013 at 1:00 am Contact Stephen: firstname.lastname@example.org | @Stephen_Bailey1 Facebook Twitter Google+ Michael Gbinije took the pass from DaJuan Coleman and flew up the left side of the court.As he crossed midcourt, he saw a streaking Rakeem Christmas on his right, but as he lifted the ball and his body upward, preparing to throw a lob, Gbinije fumbled the ball.It trickled off his knee and onto the floor, where Ryerson guard Adika Peter-McNeilly scooped it up and Gbinije fouled him to prevent the fast break.“That was one of those moments where I jumped in the air and the ball didn’t come with me,” Gbinije said. “I was like, ‘Oh, bleep.’”Gbinije continued to struggle in his transition to point guard during SU’s exhibition win over Ryerson University on Tuesday. He was only listed as having three turnovers after logging five three nights earlier, but he still appeared indecisive at times — especially when pressured while he had the ball.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAs the primary backup to freshman Tyler Ennis, Gbinije will look to improve at the point when No. 8 Syracuse opens its season against Cornell on Friday at 7 p.m. in the Carrier Dome.Gbinije admitted he didn’t expect to play this much point guard. Upon arrival at SU, he’d never played the position regularly. He was comfortable at shooting guard — or small forward.“I knew I had to play it some,” Gbinije said, “but I got thrown in the fire.”That’s not to say he doesn’t embrace the challenge. Gbinije said he has “no problem” running the offense. He just needs more time to learn and adjust.Gbinije only started practicing primarily at the position at the start of the year. And the two scrimmages have been his most serious basketball since playing 5.8 minutes per game as a true freshman at Duke two seasons ago.“Give me a couple more games and I think I’ll be right on top,” Gbinije said.Ennis said he has already seen tremendous improvement from Gbinije in his poise and command of the offense. Gbinije admitted those were issues after playing Holy Family last Friday, saying he would sometimes think about a play coming down the court without ever signaling to his teammates.But against the Rams, he was visibly more instructive, directing screeners with his off-ball hand and calling out plays in the backcourt.“I think he’s coming along great for somebody who hasn’t played point guard before,” Ennis said. “As the season goes on I think he’ll be able to adjust to presses more.”That is the big question. Gbinije’s play was especially atrocious at the end of the Holy Family (Pa.) University exhibition when he turned the ball over four times in the final 9:06 to a Division II press.The Big Red may not pressure Gbinije in the backcourt on Friday, but many teams likely will. To become a reliable backup point guard in the Atlantic Coast Conference, learning how to break pressure will be mandatory.SU head coach Jim Boeheim acknowledged Gbinije’s struggles after the Holy Family scrimmage. He attributed them, in part, to playing heavily with freshmen Ron Patterson and B.J. Johnson rather than Ennis, C.J. Fair or Trevor Cooney.But while Gbinije showed signs of improvement Tuesday, his performance wasn’t that much better.Even Boeheim admitted — while maintaining true Boeheim form — that there is improvement that needs to be made.“I don’t get concerned about these things,” Boeheim said. “That’s for you guys. We’ll try to fix it.” Comments
Martin O’Neill has given his players the day off today as they want to be fresh for the game.However, there’s still a doubt about whether or not Jonathan Walters will start.The Stoke forward has a back injury. Hosts France take on Romania in Paris.The Group A encounter begins at 8 o’clock.Meanwhile, The Republic of Ireland’s adventure begins on Monday against Sweden.