The adaptation to English football from a foreign league is always a difficult one, but when you’re suffering with niggling injuries it can be even more frustrating.
That’s the state of affairs for Newcastle United winger Allan Saint-Maximin at this moment in time, as we saw when he was forced off after just 17 minutes of his team’s 1-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.
The 22-year-old had missed the team’s previous game against Norwich City due to a hamstring injury, but was rushed back for the clash at The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. However, head coach Steve Bruce’s gamble crumbled before his eyes during the first half.
Luckily for the Magpies chief, though, Saint-Maximin’s replacement was electric. In fact, Christian Atsu was so good that there have to be question marks over whether the Frenchman will be able to dislodge him from the starting line up once he’s back to full fitness.
Atsu was really tremendous, with the highlight of his game being the clever ball he played through for club record signing Joelinton to open his account for his new club and secure Bruce’s team victory in the process.
That wasn’t all that the former Chelsea man did, though. As per WhoScored.com, the 27-year-old made three key passes, two successful dribbles and posted a WhoScored match rating of 7.41 out of 10. Not bad at all, Atsu.
It’s easy to say we’ve seen the odd quality game from the winger before – in between months of obscurity. But it’s worth remembering that Atsu was in fine form for much of last season, and would have been a regular fixture in the team throughout the second half of the campaign if it wasn’t for Miguel Almiron’s January arrival from Atlanta United.
However, with Bruce surely now poised to take Saint-Maximin’s recovery slowly after Sunday’s miscalculation, the surprise star of Sunday’s win has cast doubt over the youngster’s ability to win his place in the team back.