Before October, Allan Saint-Maximin had played just 57 minutes for Newcastle United. The summer signing from Nice suffered a hamstring injury in August that kept him out of the starting eleven until the Manchester United match just before the second international break.
While he made his return two weeks earlier against Brighton, he was limited to just a late-game cameo appearance.
Since that Manchester United match, Newcastle fans have been able to witness the marvel that is Allan Saint-Maximin. A player who is magical with the ball at his feet. He is very similar to compatriot and former Magpie Hatem Ben Arfa with his amazing dribbling ability.
However, Allan has yet to show a deadly final ball that was often on display when Ben Arfa patrolled St James Park.
In an interview in the Telegraph, Saint-Maximin spoke about how he is continually learning his craft.
This is some of what Allan said about how he is trying to bring what he learns on the training pitch into the match:
“I am learning all the time. As a team, we are working on how to get me on the ball higher up the pitch, how to get me one on one with a defender because if that happens, I will kill them.
“They know this already. Watch now, there are two players against me, sometimes three, that makes me happy because I know there will be more space for my partners. You get me one against one, I will do a lot of damage.
“Defenders should be scared of me. I am fast and technical. They have to be careful, but it is what I have said to the manager, let them come to me, I will pass to my partners. This is what the trainer talks to me about all the time.
“He is different to other managers, he is old school in many ways, but I really like him. He is going to be good for me. He talks to me all the time, after every game, we go through what I did well and what I need to improve. It is a big help. I’ve never had this before.”
Compared to Allan’s previous manager, Patrick Viera, Steve Bruce is certainly old school. Saint-Maximin also spent time under the superb Christophe Galtier when he was at St-Etienne as well as Leonardo Jardim at Monaco. All three are younger, more progressive managers than Bruce.
Like Hatem Ben Arfa, Saint-Maximin has a history of being a difficult player to manage. Though for different reasons. Ben Arfa had a more brooding demeanor, while Saint-Maximin’s reputation is that he is somewhat aloof.
We have, thus far, seen nothing negative from Saint-Maximin. In fact, he has been one of the most positive new signings to don the black and white stripes in recent memory.
He may well suit the more fatherly guidance of Steve Bruce. It could end up being a very positive relationship for both parties. Steve Bruce’s man-management skills are one of his hallmarks as a manager.
Though Bruce quickly found that he was unable to thwart Hatem Ben Arfa’s more destructive tendencies at Hull City. From all accounts, Allan Saint-Maximin seems a very willing player who just wants to give his all for the team. And, of course, have a lot of fun while doing it.
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