Allan Saint-Maximin and Alexander Isak made the difference for Newcastle against Southampton on Tuesday night, and the Frenchman wants to play more with the £63million forward.
The pair were named on the bench for the Carabao Cup semi final first leg at St Mary’s, but were brought on in the 67th minute. They replaced Callum Wilson and Joe Willock, and managed to win the game for the Magpies.
Isak had the biggest impact, with his incredible turn of pace allowing him to set up Joelinton for the winner. It was a magnificent assist from the Sweden international, who now has four goal contributions in eight appearances for his new club.
But Isak wasn’t Newcastle’s only star off the bench. Saint-Maximin produced an excellent cameo too, and received praise from Eddie Howe after the game.
The Toon boss was pleased with Maxi’s contribution, while the Frenchman has sent a message of his own to the manager.
Saint-Maximin wants to play more with ‘incredible’ Alexander Isak
After the game, Saint-Maximin spoke to BBC Radio Newcastle. He heaped praise on Isak, and believes the pair can strike up a real partnership if given the chance.
“Isak and me have the same situation with injury and difficult to come back with the team playing so well,” Saint-Maximin said.
“I have a great connection with him. We try to work hard together to push the manager to let us play.
“I like to play with all the players, but I spend a lot of time with Isak. He’s an incredible player. I want to be able to play with him and show what we are capable of doing on the pitch.”
ASM and Isak sent a message on Tuesday night
Howe’s decision to bring Saint-Maximin and Isak on against Southampton was justified. The former was lively and forced Duje Caleta-Sar’s red card, while the latter got the assist for the only goal of the game.
We saw flashes of the pair combining, and it is a partnership that Saint-Maximin is very keen to build on. He believes that they both have a great understanding, and wants Howe to start picking them in the starting XI.
That is difficult with Newcastle playing so well, but they certainly staked a claim last night. With Wilson struggling and Isak shining, it feels likely that the 23-year-old will start next week. However, given the Magpies’ narrow lead, Howe may resist temptation to start Saint-Maximin for the all important second leg.
But Maxi looked much improved last night, and wants to play more with Isak.
Standards have gone up at Newcastle since the takeover. Better players have arrived, and we are no longer just a one-man team. That honour previously belonged to Saint-Maximin, who was often our only hope.
But he has the talent to keep thriving in this ever-strengthening Newcastle side. If anything, he should get better with more talented players around him. That is exactly what happened to Sadio Mane when he swapped Southampton for Liverpool. Saint-Maximin can follow a similar path to the Senegalese superstar, without having to move clubs.
He wants to play more with Isak in a Toon shirt, and fans will be eager for that to happen after seeing the duo inspire Newcastle towards Wembley…almost.