Eddie Howe praised Allan Saint-Maximin for his performance during Newcastle United’s draw with Bournemouth on Saturday.
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The Frenchman has struggled to convince since returning from an injury and looks a long way off the kind of scintillating display he put in against Manchester City at the start of the season.
Still, the 25-year-old kept his place in the team despite an ineffective display against West Ham last week for the trip down to the south coast, thanks in large part to the suspension of Bruno Guimaraes.
With the Brazilian not available, compatriot Joelinton has come back into midfield, opening up a space on the left. Anthony Gordon is another option of course but is still in the embryonic stages of his Newcastle career.
Saint-Maximin, like the rest of his teammates, looked rather laboured on the south coast during a 1-1 draw. He was, however, involved in Miguel Almiron’s equaliser to rescue a point for Howe’s side, doing excellently to keep the ball in play before driving inside his marker to tee up Sean Longstaff for the initial shot from which Almiron tapped in.
Frustratingly, however, he was forced off injured during the closing stages of the game.
What has been said about Saint-Maximin?
Speaking to NUFCTV after the game, Almiron said: “I think Maxi had some really good moments today.
“I think it was a definite step up in performance from last week, but that’s natural because he’s re-finding his game rhythm.
“I thought he was a real threat so he can be pleased with his work, as a number of the players can.”
How well did Saint-Maximin play against Bournemouth?
WhoScored data notes the winger played two key passes (ranking joint-second for Howe’s team), had a shot on target (again, ranking joint-second) and attempted five dribbles (joint-first).
Given his averages in those metrics stand at 1.2, 0.8 and 1.9 respectively this season, it’s fair to say that he was at his most productive in terms of overall play yet, brilliant City game aside.
While Newcastle were hardly at their best, it is at least something to build on ahead of the visit of Liverpool next weekend, for which Guimaraes is again suspended.
After the game, Howe confirmed Saint-Maximin’s injury was not thought to be particularly serious.