It’s been an up and down season for Newcastle United winger Allan Saint-Maximin.
The Frenchman started the campaign in impressive fashion, and looked like the club’s only hope. He’s filled that role a lot since his 2019 arrival, often winning matches on his own with his insane natural ability.
He was excellent in 2021, but things haven’t been as straightforward in 2022.
Saint-Maximin has struggled to have the same kind of impact under Eddie Howe. There have been moments, with his shining performance coming in the 3-1 win over Everton in February.
Saint-Maximin still deserves praise for a decent season, and he ended it with an assist for Callum Wilson against Burnley. But has he done enough to be named Newcastle’s player of the season? Not according to Toon legend Alan Shearer.
Shearer picks Joelinton ahead of Saint-Maximin for POTS
Shearer featured on the latest episode of the Athletic’s Pod On The Tyne, where they discussed who should be named Newcastle’s player of the season.
“Saint-Maximin, too up and down. Not produced enough at times,” Shearer said.
“So yeah, Joelinton. The transformation and the change in him. The belief, not only from within himself, but from fans also, has been incredible. The change has been staggering.”
It’s no surprise that Shearer has picked Joelinton. He appears to be everyone’s player of the season. The 25-year-old won the club’s Player of the Year award, which is a perfect end to a staggering season for the Brazilian.
His transformation from failing striker to combatting midfielder has been astounding. There could only be one winner.
Shearer’s comments on Saint-Maximin are fair
However, Shearer’s criticism of Saint-Maximin is interesting, and very fair. He’s flattered to deceive at times, particularly since the turn of the year.
Newcastle have often been reliant on ASM in the past, with their only tactic being ‘give the ball to Maxi and pray’. That hasn’t been the case since Howe’s arrival, with the new manager finding other ways to win.
The 25-year-old ends his third Premier League season with five goals and five assists, which is actually his highest goal contributions tally since joining the club. So the fact Shearer is actually disappointed with Saint-Maximin is actually a testament to the Toon number 10.
He’s had an up and down season, but can be happy with his contributions. However, he is also capable of so much more.
Newcastle have the resources now that means they don’t need to rely on ASM. But he is still an important player, and can be our x-factor in 2022/23.
There’s room for improvement from Saint-Maximin, which must be a terrifying thought for full-backs up and down the country.