'Absolute handful' - Paul Merson lavishes praise on Newcastle United duo
Paul Merson has heaped praise on Newcastle United duo Allan Saint-Maximin and Callum Wilson, claiming that the pair are “an absolute handful".
Both players have missed significant parts of the season through injury, but both have made positive impacts since returning to the starting XI, and their influence is reflected in the Magpies’ recent upturn in fortunes.
Steve Bruce’s men are unbeaten in the last four Premier League outings, and Saint-Maximin in particular has been a key presence in that resurgence, scoring once and setting up a further two goals.
Looking ahead to Sunday's clash with Arsenal at St. James’ Park, former Gunner Merson was quick to emphasise just how important the Frenchman and summer signing Wilson are to the Toon Army.
Speaking on Sky Sports Football, he said: “It’s the same at every club, and definitely with the teams that are lower down the league, you have to have your best players on the pitch.
"Saint-Maximin has not been fit. When he’s fit, and when you’ve got Wilson fit, they are an absolute handful – an absolute handful.
"It’s been a shame, and that’s why they are where they are.
"If those two had played for the whole season, they wouldn’t be where they are. They wouldn’t.”
Since signing from Bournemouth at the end of last season, Wilson has established himself as Newcastle’s undisputed first choice striking option, registering 10 goals and assisting a further five in 24 Premier League outings.
In total, Saint-Maximin has contributed three goals, as well as laying on five assists.