“We all want him on the pitch and playing well,” he said, as per The Chronicle. “He’s got that ability to get people off their seats and do something a bit different.
“I’m sure I’ll have many awkward nights with him, but we’re just concentrating about getting him back on the pitch.”
As disturbing as it is to picture Bruce and Saint-Maximin spending awkward nights together, the head coach’s words here hint at some of the concerns that surrounded the club’s signing of the 22-year-old. Saint-Maximin has always been a big talent, marked out as such from a young age. However, there have been concerns over his attitude and his application. Those have followed him to Newcastle, and are reflected in what Bruce says here. Perhaps he needed some convincing from the club that Saint-Maximin was the right man to bring in, and perhaps he is worried that the Frenchman will become problematic at some point in the future. However, he also seems convinced that the winger is someone who can be a difference-maker on the pitch. That’s the sort of bargain you make with these kinds of mercurial talents. You know they can be hard work and rather demanding, but if they win you games then they’re 100% worth it. That certainly seems to be where Bruce stands in regards to Saint-Maximin.