Allan Saint-Maximin epitomised Newcastle United’s team spirit immediately after the Magpies’ 4-1 victory over Brighton on Thursday night.
Newcastle picked up a vital three points at St James’ Park, putting them on the brink of Champions League qualification. They have the chance to guarantee their place in the top four on Monday night – although it could already be confirmed depending on how Liverpool do on Saturday.
But while the Newcastle players and staff celebrated the win once the final whistle blew, Saint-Maximin had something else on his mind.
Saint-Maximin immediately checks up on injured Newcastle teammate
After every home game, Eddie Howe and his players complete a lap of appreciation, thanking the supporters – win, lose or draw.
However, it initially looked like Saint-Maximin was not going to take part. He was only used as a stoppage time substitution, coming on once the result was all but confirmed.
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The 26-year-old headed towards the dugout, but it was not to head back to dressing room. Instead, he wanted to speak to Joe Willock, who was forced off with injury early in the second half.
The 23-year-old appeared to be in a massive amount of pain, with a hamstring problem likely bringing an end to his season. He left St James’ Park on crutches.
It is such a shame to see Willock struck down by injury, but great from ASM, who joined lap of appreciation afterwards, to go and check up on his friend and teammate at the first opportunity. Eddie Howe really has created a band of brothers.
Brighton game not suited to ASM, but Monday’s is
It was probably a frustrating night for Saint-Maximin. He is back to fitness, but was not trusted to help Newcastle see the game out until the final stages. He still had time to impress, chopping past a Brighton defender who was left in a heap on the floor by Maxi’s trickery.
In truth, not bringing ASM on until the game was sewn up was a sensible decision by Howe. He needed players who he could 100% rely on defensively, that were tactically astute enough to stop Brighton playing and getting back into the game. For all of his talents, that is not Saint-Maximin’s forte.
While the Brighton game was not ideal for him, Monday should be. Hopefully we see more of the Frenchman against Leicester City and their struggling defence.