Just what must Allan Saint-Maximin be thinking? The Newcastle star has been one of the very few bright spots for the Magpies over the past year or so, and was duly rewarded with a bumper new contract earlier in the summer, despite only being at St James’ Park for one season.
At times it really has been the Frenchman versus the rest, and on Saturday afternoon against Chelsea, the winger had a disappointing display, which only served to highlight just how much the Tyneside club have relied upon him for some inspiration.
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As per Sofascore, he lost possession 13 times over the course of the game, and had just one shot on goal, whilst even that was off target. And with Chelsea dominating possession, the winger could only manage 14 passes, and failed to deliver a single accurate cross.
Eventually, whether it was because of his poor performance or just that he felt like the Magpies weren’t going to get anything from the game and wanted to save him from injury, Bruce hooked him after 74 minutes.
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Nobody can fault for Saint-Maximin for at least trying to get things going, but you couldn’t help but feel that he was being held back by his manager’s game-plan and his teammates’ lack of quality.
But the longer Bruce’s defensive-minded tactics continue, the more frustrated Saint-Maximin will become. And if the French ace packs his bags and leaves St James’ Park, then there’ll be only man to point the finger at.