Steve Bruce is happy to be tested 'to the limit' by Newcastle maverick Allan Saint-Maximin as he learns his trade in the Premier League.
Having moved to Tyneside from Nice in the summer of 2019, Saint-Maximin spent the vast majority of his first season as a Newcastle player stationed on the flank, where he lit up St James' Park and dazzled the crowd with his trickery, despite critics suggesting he lacked a final product in the box.
He's been in good touch in the early stages of 2020/21, but Bruce, speaking ahead of the game against Southampton this weekend, admitted he can hard to handle.
"He’s always going to be a difficult one to manage," Bruce quipped, via The Chronicle. "He’s not like an Almiron or a Callum Wilson – he will test you to the limit. But he’s worth it."
The 23-year old Frenchman will be looking to repeat his match-winning heroics at St Mary's from last season, with Bruce looking for more consistency from Saint-Maximin after admitting that he can blow hot and cold.
Speaking about Saint-Maximin's new role up front, Bruce added: "He can win you a match, but there are times where you want him to do a bit more. All of those things are in there, but he’s young, and he’s still coming to terms with it as far as I’m concerned, he’s still learning."
Saint-Maximin began the current campaign playing on the right-hand side, but having been moved infield during last month’s 3-1 win over Burnley, a game that saw him produce arguably his best performance of the campaign, he has started the last two matches playing alongside Callum Wilson in Newcastle's attack.
“I think he played the role very, very well against Burnley,” Bruce continued. “He wants to play it, which is important. He wants to have the flexibility of being able to go down the middle and go both ways.
“I think he’s done okay with it. He’s made us more of a threat. Of course, it’s a little bit new to him, but he’ll adapt to it, I’m convinced of that, and once he gets the hang of it then when he is down the middle, he can go both ways.
“When you see what he did against Burnley, when he scored the goal through the middle, I don’t think he scores that if he wasn’t playing there. But then when he made the second one (for Wilson), he was on the right, so it gives me that flexibility. Of course it’s a raging debate at the minute, but he’ll be fine.”
Source : 90min