Journalist Aaron Stokes believes that Eddie Howe shouldn’t be putting Allan Saint-Maximin into the Newcastle United starting lineup.
It appears Saint-Maximin has made a return to full fitness over the last week having featured in each of the club’s last two games, although he was only handed seven minutes on Boxing Day.
While Saint-Maximin was once the main man at Newcastle and the one who carried them forward, he is now struggling to get starts under Howe, such is the form of players such as Miguel Almiron and Joelinton.
This is why Stokes has claimed on the Everything is Black and White podcast that Howe must resist the urge to drop one of his performing stars for the French winger.
He said: “Maxi must be sat on that bench now thinking, ‘I’m really going to struggle to get back into this team’, because there were a few people yesterday before the game that I’d seen on social media who were calling on Maxi to return to the starting lineup.
Should Saint-Maximin start vs Leeds?
“We know Eddie Howe, he doesn’t change winning teams, and I think it would probably be a mistake to bring Maxi in… You couldn’t drop Joelinton now given the form he’s shown, but I think Maxi’s now got a real, real challenge on his hands to pick up that left-hand side of the three.”
TIF Thoughts on Saint-Maximin’s position at Newcastle…
If someone had been saying Saint-Maximin should be sitting on the bench for Newcastle about 12 months ago, we think very few people would’ve agreed with that, but Joelinton and Almiron are now too important to Eddie Howe’s side to be dropped.
Saint-Maximin did indeed start the season on fire with one goal and two assists in his first four appearances, but due to injuries, fitness and the form of other players, he hasn’t started a league game since 28th August.
The French winger was being linked with a move away from Newcastle over the summer and those rumours could well re-emerge next month if he continues to twiddle his thumbs on the Newcastle bench, but he can have few complaints given that some of his performances this year have been labelled as ‘particularly poor‘, which highlights his inconsistent record having scored just 13 goals in 103 appearances for the Magpies.