Jose Enrique aims dig at Newcastle winger Allan Saint-Maximin
Jose Enrique aims dig at Newcastle winger Allan Saint-Maximin
Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Jose Enrique aims dig at Newcastle winger Allan Saint-Maximin

Newcastle United winger Allan Saint-Maximin does not work hard enough according to former Magpie Jose Enrique.

Saint-Maximin returned to the Newcastle starting XI on Sunday, celebrating his 26th birthday with an impressive performance.

He played on the left wing against Wolves and was a constant threat, linking up brilliantly with man of the match Alexander Isak. It was an exciting performance from the Frenchman, who is starting to get back to his best during what has been a frustrating campaign.

Saint-Maximin has struggled with injury but is back fit now, and can provide a real spark for Eddie Howe’s side in the remaining 13 games. He could be a real difference maker in the bid to finish in the top four.

However, former Magpie Enrique does not think Saint-Maximin should be starting.

Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images

Jose Enrique says Allan Saint-Maximin ‘doesn’t work hard enough’

In the aftermath of Sunday’s win over Wolves, Sky Sports released a video of Stephen Warnock and Sue Smith debating whether or not the Magpies will finish in the top four.

The video received a response from Enrique, who thinks Newcastle will qualify for the Champions League – on a couple of conditions.

“They will I believe if they are able to be more clinical and I love Saint-Maximin but can’t play the way Newcastle play,” he wrote.

“Doesn’t work hard enough to press and to defend so I will play Gordon there or even Isak if they want to play Wilson at front.”

Harsh from Jose Enrique

Enrique is right with one point that he makes. We do need to be more clinical. Even against Wolves, we squandered plenty of opportunities that allowed Julen Lopetegui’s side to get back into the game. Luckily, Miguel Almiron bailed us out.

However, Enrique is not one to mince his words on social media, having previously taken aim at Loris Karius and Alexander Isak. Now he has aimed a dig at Saint-Maximin, and it seems slightly harsh – and counterintuitive to his initial point.

Newcastle will surely become more clinical if they keep creating quality chances, and to do that you need a player like Saint-Maximin. He provides an x-factor in attack that only he can, and it should result in him getting more goal contributions. He hasn’t contributed enough this season, but that will hopefully change in the coming weeks.

Defensively, he is getting better. He obviously isn’t completely suited to defending, but there has been an effort from him to improve.

It is a double-edged sword – if he spent the entire game just defending and protecting the left-back, he would be far less influential in the final third. He needs to be playing higher up the pitch, which is why he dovetails so well with Joelinton. When he plays, the Brazilian is able to come across from midfield and cover Maxi.

Pressure on Allan Saint-Maximin to improve

Following the arrival of Anthony Gordon, there is pressure on Saint-Maximin to be more of a team player. He needs to show that he can play a part in Eddie Howe’s system. The Toon boss obviously believes he can, otherwise he wouldn’t start him.

Enrique’s comments come from the perspective of a left-back who would probably hate to have a player like Saint-Maximin in front of him. In contrast, he used to play alongside Jonas Gutierrez at Newcastle, and he was a brilliant defensive winger.

But Saint-Maximin’s mercurial ability in attack compensates for his defensive struggles, and he should continue to start for the Magpies despite Enrique’s concern.