Newcastle United journalist Chris Waugh has shed some light on the relationship between Allan Saint-Maximin and manager Eddie Howe.
The 25-year-old hasn’t started for the Magpies since the 1-0 win over Aston Villa on 13 February. Having suffered a minor injury and a brief illness, he has only made three substitute appearances across the team’s six Premier League matches since his last start.
According to Waugh for The Athletic, ‘some’ suspected that ‘there had been falling out’ between Saint-Maximin and Howe, while The Telegraph’s Luke Edwards has sought to quash ‘rumours of disenchantment’ between the pair.
This was after the manager said that he would make a ‘late call’ on whether the Frenchman could play against Brentford in late February, only for it to later emerge that the player was back in his home country undergoing treatment.
In a piece for The Athletic, Waugh had shared fresh insight from sources at Newcastle.
He wrote that ‘some at the club admit’ that Saint-Maximin and Howe are still in a period of ‘acclimatising to one another’ following the latter’s arrival in November. However, a source insisted that the 25-year-old is ‘very much part of Eddie’s plan’ going forward.
If Newcastle were offered £60m for Saint-Maximin, should they sell?
Saint-Maximin should be one of the players around whom Newcastle build their new-look team.
He leads the squad for goal involvements with eight this season (five goals and three assists) and is considered the club’s most valuable asset by Transfermarkt. Furthermore, he’s an electrifying player to watch, leading the Premier League for successful dribbles per 90 minutes with 4.2 (the next-best player with more than 10 starts is Burnley’s Dwight McNeil on 2.5).
However, if Saint-Maximin wants to nail down his place in Howe’s team in the long-term, he will need to do more out of possession. He ranks in the bottom 15 percentiles for pressures and tackles (relative to positional peers in the top five leagues), and that can hurt his team defensively.
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