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Allan Saint-Maximin has opened up about his struggles to nail down a place in the Newcastle United XI this season as speculation about his future continues to grow.
The exciting winger was one of the Magpies’ most-important players last term, though the 2022/23 campaign has been a different story for the 25-year-old, who has found himself on the periphery of the first time more often than he would have liked.
Indeed, Saint-Maximin made his first Premier League start since August when he was selected to play against West Ham on Saturday, though he was withdrawn on 69 minutes and replaced by January signing, Anthony Gordon.
Saint-Maximin was linked with January exit
With first-team opportunities more limited than ever, Allan Saint-Maximin’s future in the north east was in question during the January transfer window and Italian giants AC Milan were among those credited with an interest in the attacker, something the player himself was keenly aware of.
“I want to be honest because I’m not going to lie,” Saint-Maximin told The Northern Echo. “When you are in the situation [of not playing much], a lot of teams can see that and think it’s the right opportunity to come and buy the player.
“But I’m very proud to be here, and the most important thing for me is to play. I will always try to be in a position where I play every game because no player plays football to be on the bench.”
Injuries a factor in Saint-Maximin’s fall
Saint-Maximin has fallen down the pecking order at Newcastle and his backslide can be traced to the hamstring injury he picked up all the way back in August. Forced to adapt, the Magpies found a blueprint that worked well in the forward’s absence under Eddie Howe, and when Saint-Maximin picked up another issue shortly after his comeback in October, he missed another three fixtures.
In his absence, Newcastle have gone from strength-to-strength and United are now listed among the favourites for a top four finish and Champions League qualification this season.
Joelinton has been reborn as a dangerous attacking midfielder, while Miguel Almiron is enjoying the best campaign of his career on the opposite flank.
With Swedish striker Alexander Isak fit again and challenging Callum Wilson for a place in the Newcastle frontline, competition for a spot has never been tougher and Anthony Gordon’s arrival from Everton complicates things even further.
Saint-Maximum wants fans to understand the situation
Saint-Maximin continues to be involved in Newcastle’s Premier League matchday squads, however, all but one of his appearances in the top flight since the World Cup have come off the bench.
The Frenchman believes the club’s supporters “need to understand the situation” he finds himself in, though he maintains that he still has a “very good relationship” with manager Howe.
Newcastle’s resurgence under Howe has included a run to the Carabao Cup final, with the showpiece showdown against Manchester United set to take place on February 26th.
Speaking about the final, Saint-Maximin added: “I’m not going to lie, we think about the final, but we are professional. We know the league is so important, so every game, we try to be focused and win.”