Eddie Howe was pleased with Allan Saint-Maximin’s brief cameo in Newcastle United’s 2-0 defeat to Arsenal and hinted there may be more minutes available for the Frenchman in the final games of the season.
Saint-Maximin recently returned to Tyneside after recovering from a hamstring problem in his native France. The 26-year-old only managed 15 minutes at St James’ Park on Sunday, replacing Joe Willock as the Magpies chased the game.
Saint-Maximin has a tough challenge ahead as he battles the likes of Joelinton, Alexander Isak and Anthony Gordon for a single starting spot on the left flank but Howe seems ready to throw his mercurial wide man back in the fold between now and the end of May after admitting he had to manage his minutes against Arsenal.
“It was huge for us, and I thought Maxi did very well when he came on,” Howe said of Saint-Maximin’s contribution. “We probably thought he had 15 minutes maximum in his legs after only two training sessions, and a long period out. I was delighted with his contribution.”
Howe added on BBC Radio Newcastle: “He’s had quite a lengthy spell out with a hamstring problem, and if we push him too early, there’s naturally cause for concern. We could set him back. He’s only done two training sessions with us, and we felt that 15 or 20 minutes was his maximum.”
Saint-Maximin enjoyed a rip-roaring start to the season, flourishing in the 3-3 draw with Manchester City before scoring a stunner to equalise against Wolves later that month. Injuries have plagued the winger’s campaign since, with questions now being asked about his long-term future at St James’ Park.
I’m very proud to be here, and the most important thing for me is to play,” Saint-Maximin said back in February. “I will always try to be in a position where I play every game because no player plays football to be on the bench.”
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