Newcastle: Journalist insists Allan Saint-Maximin is working hard behind the scenes
Aaron Stokes has claimed that Allan Saint-Maximin has been knuckling down behind the scenes ahead of Newcastle United’s Carabao Cup final.
The Lowdown: Eddie Howe has big decisions to make
During his pre-cup final press conference, Eddie Howe confirmed that Joe Willock has a chance of making the Wembley clash on Sunday, although it is a race against time.
Therefore, it could well see Howe hand yet another start to Saint-Maximin, which would be his fourth in a row across all competitions, despite him finding form challenging to come by this season.
The French winger has only managed four goal involvements all season and started just seven league games due to injuries and being overlooked by Howe – having only been reintroduced to the starting XI after Bruno Guimaraes’ red card against Southampton in the Carabao Cup semi-finals.
The Latest: Saint-Maximin pushing hard for a starting spot
Speaking on the Loaded Mag YouTube channel, Stokes revealed that Saint-Maximin has been asking for extra sessions recently and is knuckling down to earn a starting berth on Sunday amid uncertainty over who will get the nod between himself and Willock.
He said: “Eddie Howe did a lot of work with him in the summer – him and Jason Tindall. Ever since he’s come back from this most recent injury, him and Isak have been doing extra training sessions that they themselves have asked for; they haven’t been told to do it by the club.
“So I don’t think you can fault what he’s doing off the pitch at the minute, I think all the signs out of the club is that he’s really knuckling down, but I think he maybe has learned in the last couple of months that he has to knuckle down or he’s not going to have a future here.”
The Verdict: Wembley could be the perfect stage for Saint-Maximin
Saint-Maximin is certainly a player that thrives when he’s on the big stage and up against some of the top talents in the world, as his two best performances this season have arguably come against Manchester City and Liverpool.
Therefore, with all the eyes on Wembley this Sunday, it would make sense for Saint-Maximin to go out onto the hallowed turf and make a name for himself by carrying Newcastle to their first piece of silverware since 1969.
However, if he does indeed get the nod from Howe this weekend, it could come at the expense of some defensive work, as the winger has only managed two tackles in his own defensive third this season, so to make up for that, he would have to do something special at the other end of the pitch.