Newcastle forward Allan Saint-Maximin’s work rate off the ball lets him down at times, according to journalist Liam Kennedy.
How has Allan Saint-Maximin performed this season?
The 24-year-old has undoubtedly been the main positive in Newcastle’s season to date. After getting an assist on the opening day against West Ham, he has not looked back, as he has since gone on to score two goals and provide two more assists to take his goal involvement tally to five for the campaign already.
According to WhoScored, he has been the ninth-best player in England’s top division in 2021/22, and this has led to some onlookers wondering whether he could play for a team higher up the table.
What did Kennedy say about Saint-Maximin?
When asked whether Saint-Maximin could cut it at a top four club, Kennedy admitted that the attacker would need to improve his work rate when his side is not in possession, but he backed the Frenchman to make the necessary adjustment.
Responding to whether Saint-Maximin could develop the defensive side of his game, Kennedy told GIVEMESPORT: “I think he could. I think he lets himself down a little bit in that sense. He doesn’t pressure defenders but you probably have Miguel Almiron playing near him, Joelinton can do that job for him. And you expect every player will be expected to do that if you go to Liverpool. Every player is expected to do that at Chelsea, wherever you go. Do I think he can do it? Yes.”
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Could Saint-Maximin’s defensive flaws prevent him from getting a move to a top four club?
Forward players showing a willingness to defend seems to be more prevalent than ever right now. Looking at Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, Mohamed Salah and Sadio are renowned for pressing high up the pitch to win the ball back, and the same can be said of Mason Mount and Kai Havertz at Chelsea, plus the likes of Bernardo Silva and Phil Foden at Manchester City.
Saint-Maximin has not quite shown the same intensity off the ball as his counterparts at top four clubs, and that is something that he will need to work on, or these teams might decide that it is not worth splashing the cash on a player who does not have a well-rounded skillset from an attacking and defensive perspective.
Then again, Jack Grealish has already appeared to up his work rate since moving to City in the summer, highlighting how players can turn weaknesses into strengths in a short space of time. Interested parties may feel that Saint-Maximin could follow Grealish’s lead, and be willing to take a punt on the winger as a result.