'Game-changer' - Jeff Stelling leads praise for 'quality' Newcastle United player
Soccer Saturday host Jeff Stelling has hailed Newcastle United talisman Allan Saint-Maximin for being a “game-changer”.
The Frenchman returned to the Magpies’ starting lineup for their 3-2 win against West Ham on Saturday lunchtime after having made his comeback from injury with a superb cameo against fellow strugglers Burnley last weekend.
Steve Bruce introduced the wide man in the second half of that clash, and within nine minutes he had assisted Jacob Murphy for an equaliser and scored a superb solo effort of his own.
He justified his manager’s decision to include him against the Irons by playing a crucial role in Issa Diop’s opening own goal.
Reflecting on that performance on Sky Sports, Stelling said: “There’s no question that Saint-Maximin is a game-changer, and if he stays in that kind of form then Newcastle will be okay, won’t they?”
Former Rangers striker Kris Boyd responded: “Yeah, they should be.
"Anytime we’ve spoken about Newcastle when he was out injured, it was a case of ‘Right, can you get him and Callum Wilson back?’.
"You can see the impact that he has.
"Last week when he came on the pitch – he’s always had the pace and the trickery, but when you look at the finish, the quality was there. It wasn’t a case of him getting in there and slashing at it.
"He can see things happen. He’s got an awareness to try and pick someone out. He’s able to get Newcastle up the pitch.”
Saturday's outing against West Ham was Saint-Maximin’s 19th in the Premier League this season after spending much of the campaign in and out of the side due to injury.