Allan Saint-Maximin has been arguably Newcastle’s best player since he returned from his hamstring injury and Steve Bruce inserted him into the starting eleven against Manchester United in the first week of October.
He’s become a fan darling with his electric pace and explosive runs. While he’s not offering the final ball we need at the moment, he’s creating potential chances that just weren’t there before his inclusion in the team.
This past weekend, Man City’s Kyle Walker was Allan’s latest toy as he ran the 29-year-old ragged when in possession. The England international was often left no other option than to hack down the Frenchman.
It’s his ability to cause the opposition so much distress while drawing in two to three defenders that Newcastle need to start taking advantage of. While Allan could do a better job of spotting teammates running into the space he creates, his fellow runners also need to get into that space with more urgency.
Allan is going to be a frustrating player at times, but hopefully, he will start to get some goals and assists over the next few months. Though, even without them, he is still a positive influence on Newcastle’s attack.
Another area that we feel Allan could improve is in his defensive work. Though to be honest, based on his reputation in France, we have been pleasantly surprised by Allan’s tracking back.
While he doesn’t show the same dogged determination as his counterpart Miguel Almiron does on the right, Allan is certainly not derelict in his defensive commitments. We feel he’s formed a good partnership with Jetro Willems on the left flank.
Former England goalkeeper Paul Robinson speaking to Football Insider believes that the 22-year-old needs to do more in both phases of the game. He thinks Allan needs to improve his decision-making in attack as well as in his defensive duties.
This is what Robinson had to say after the Manchester City draw about the French winger:
“He’d drive me mad if he was in my team, I’d be on his case constantly because he’s so quick, he’s got such electrifying pace and he’s got such talent as well.
“But he just needs a little more composure with his decision-making, his final ball, as he has so much talent but his decision-making in the final third lets him down.
“And I do think he forgets his defensive duties sometimes when he’s playing on the left-side of that midfield I think he has to be reminded of his role to trackback.”
We agree to an extent with what Robinson has to say. However, we think the signs are there that Allan is going to get better the more he plays. We are pleasantly surprised by his contributions thus far.
He is a far more willing worker than the reputation that accompanied him from France led us to believe. While he does frustrate with some of his decisions, his highlight reel runs are worth the price of admission.
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