Allan Saint-Maximin ‘focused’ at Newcastle United amid France 2022 World Cup call-up hopes
The 25-year-old has been a big miss for Newcastle with a hamstring injury in the last three Premier League matches. A late call will be made whether he makes the journey down to Fulham this Saturday (3pm kick-off).
Saint-Maximin has used the international break wisely as he has spent time in Monaco working on his fitness and rehabilitation.
But there was something he would have rather been doing.
With the 2022 World Cup in Qatar fast-approaching, Saint-Maximin remains uncapped by France at international level.
He has represented his country at various age groups up to Under-21 level, but a senior call-up continues to elude him. And he faces stiff attacking competition.
Players such as Kylian Mbappe, Kingsley Coman, Anthony Martial and Newcastle target Moussa Diaby are above him in manager Didier Deschamps’ thoughts at the moment.
But Newcastle’s No. 10 has been in fine form this season prior to his injury. A man of the match display against Manchester City saw him create three goals before he scored a stunning late equaliser against Wolverhampton Wanderers to win the Premier League’s goal of the month award for August.
Following his performance against City, Saint-Maximin posted a tongue-in-cheek tweet suggesting he hoped Deschamps had the chance to watch the match.
He later deleted the tweet and posted: “More seriously, obviously I am aware that Les Bleus are at the very, very high level and that it requires a lot of things because there is already quality in attack!
"BUT what is certain is that I am determined to continue killing myself in the field to be part of it one day.”
Saint-Maximin’s Instagram bio also makes reference to the French national team and on his account he posted a video of his Man City highlights along with the caption: “Only one thing in my mind, the World Cup.”
Saint-Maximin's pace and trickery has caused problems for many Premier League defenders and he would certainly make him an exciting option for the World Cup holders.
But when asked directly about his chances of going to Qatar this winter, he was quick to play things down and instead reaffirmed his focus on performing at club level first.
“Yeah [the World Cup] is in the back of my mind but I always think about many things to be honest,” he told The Gazette. “I’m really focused, I know what my team are capable to do and I know what I am capable to do.
"We need to do that every week and if we do that every week, I don’t really care about what will happen because I know we will finish in a very good position.”
Saint-Maximin went on to praise the impact head coach Eddie Howe has made at the club.
“The manager is trying to help the team a lot,” he added. “He’s changed everything, he’s changed the mentality, changed the training and we can see everything start to work. We just need to keep going, to listen and we will see what will happen.
“We just want to be Newcastle to be honest [not try and emulate other clubs]. If you just think about that first, many things will happen.”