Newcastle United winger Allan Saint-Maximin has claimed that opposition defenders will be out to “kill” him this season.
The 22-year-old Frenchman arrived from OGC Nice over the summer with a reputation for being a tricky customer, and he is fully expecting to face a physical battle in the Premier League as a result.
When asked how he was preparing for life in the English game during an interview with the Chronicle, he said: “I think I have to be strong first and then look to do everything quickly.
“If you do it quicker, it makes it more difficult – I know people will be looking to kick me or kill me!”
Slightly melodramatic from Saint Maximin, but there is definitely a grain of truth in what he says. The Frenchman arrives on Tyneside having completed an average of 4.2 successful dribbles per match last season, as per Whoscored, and as a general rule, players like that, who seem to have the ball superglued to their feet, are prime candidates for getting knocked down a peg or two in the English game. Certainly, you would expect a period of adaptation from Saint-Maximin. French football is a slower, more reserved affair than the Premier League, and it could take him a while to get up to speed, but the fact that he is going into it all with his eyes wide open would at least suggest that he is ready for the rigours that lie ahead. If he can find his feet quickly, the Toon Army could have a very special talent on their hands this season.