Eddie Howe focused on Allan Saint-Maximin challenge as Newcastle stars send Instagram message – Aaron Stokes


“We’ve worked really hard with Maxi during pre-season. He’s trained well. He’s delivered everything that we’ve asked him to deliver. You know, we’ve pushed him physically. He’s responded. So I’m hoping for a very, very good season,” Eddie Howe said over the summer.

The Newcastle United boss knows how to raise the game of a Magpies talent. This time around he is hoping to take Allan Saint-Maximin ‘s performances to an entirely different level. If last year was the rise of Joelinton and Emil Krafth, this season is the turn of their French counterpart.

Ever since he swapped the beaches of Nice for a stint on Tyneside, Maxi has dazzled with his ambition and tenacity on the ball. A world-beater on his day, the wide man has also been criticised for his decision making and consistency.

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But there is another level to his game and Howe knows it. That is why so much emphasis has been put on ensuring the 25-year-old enjoys a stellar season. Three games in so far and a below-par showing on the south coast at Brighton has been bookended by two exciting home displays.

Sunday’s rip-roaring draw with Manchester City was Saint-Maximin at his brilliant best. Fearless in possession, making the right decision with his final ball, leaving vastly-experienced Kyle Walker in his wake throughout the afternoon.

Saint-Maximin’s performance brought adulation from fans, the Media and his manager. His team-mates also took to Instagram to share their delight at the Frenchman’s St James’ Park exhibit.

Joe Willock labelled him ‘the best’, Jamaal Lascelles left a comment which read ‘amazing’ and Joelinton called him a ‘craque’ which is a Brazilian’s way of telling you you’re a proper player. The dressing room knows exactly what Saint-Maximin is capable of.

Howe believes in him, his co-stars clearly believe in him and the fans are firmly behind him after Sunday’s offering. The challenge is now to ensure he delivers those type of displays on a regular basis.

“It was his best performance since I’ve been managing him. He got every aspect of his game in a very good place. His pace was there, you could see he was electric,” Howe said after the Manchester City game.

“His decision-making with the ball was very good, he defended well, I thought he gave a great display. In that form, he gives us a totally different dimension to our team. It’s so important for us.

“The challenge for Maxi is, ‘Can you bring that game every week, not just in flashes?’ That will dictate how good a season he has.”

If anybody can get the very best out of Saint-Maximin, Howe can. Two out of three is not dangerous to this point this season however the actual proof lies in whether or not the previous Ligue 1 wizard can proceed this high-quality kind.

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