What we know about Newcastle United's Allan Saint-Maximin and his return from Covid-19
And supporters want to know when the winger will again pull on a black and white shirt.
But that’s a question that Steve Bruce can’t yet answer.
Saint-Maximin was left out of the squad for the November 27 game against Crystal Palace with a calf problem.
Bruce revealed the start of a Covid-19 outbreak at the club before he and his players set off for the capital, and Saint-Maximin, along with a number of his team-mates, went on to test positive for coronavirus.
What’s happening with Saint-Maximin?
Saint-Maximin was allowed to return to France to recuperate after testing negative following his initial isolation period.
In a video on Instagram, in which he also addressed rumours of a rift with Bruce, Saint-Maximin stressed that he felt “really good”.
“I have no problem with Steve Bruce,” said Saint-Maximin, signed in the summer of 2019 from Nice. “I am fine. I am with my family, as you can see. I have no problem. You can see I feel really good. I love the club. I love the fans. I love everything. I feel great.”
However, players recovering from Covid-19 must undergo a series of tests – and their returns are handled by the club’s medical team.
This is something that was touched on by captain Jamaal Lascelles in a recent programme column.
“I have been doing a bit outside or a bit of ball work with one of the physios, but once I have the green light from the doc I can be introduced back to the team,” said Lascelles, who is close to a first-team comeback.
Even those who have returned from Covid-19, notably Federico Fernandez, have been affected by fatigue.
When will Saint-Maximin return?
Saint-Maximin, according to Bruce, is still weeks away from returning.
And when he does return to training, he will need time to recover his fitness before being pitched back into a Premier League game.
Bruce gave an update on Saint-Maximin and Lascelles after last weekend’s 2-1 home defeat to Leicester City.
“We’re still without two big players,” said Bruce. “They’re still unfortunately a bit away, especially one of them (Saint-Maximin), (who) in the last third can give us that spark, which, at times, we lack. We’ve just got to be a bit patient.”
So fans will have to be patient. There are rightly strict return to play protocols – and these must be followed.
Saint-Maximin, at least, is in good spirits. He replied to a tweet from @NUFC360 today saying he’s “fine” – and missing the club’s fans.
Where will Saint-Maximin fit into the team when he is cleared to play?
Saint-Maximin – who signed a new deal at United early this season – had been struggling for form before the Palace game.
Bruce had been fielding him through the middle following a change in formation, but Saint-Maximin – who has been at his most dangerous down the left flank – wasn’t particularly effective in that role.
This, however, is an issue for another day.
Supporters just hope that he will soon be back in the fold at Newcastle.