Time is running out for Newcastle United’s Allan Saint-Maximin to achieve his World Cup dream.
The biggest tournament in football kicks off at the end of the year, with Qatar hosting a winter World Cup for the first time ever.
France are the current champions of the world, winning the 2018 tournament in Russia. Didier Deschamps has an incredible wealth of talent to pick from, and his side will likely be the favourites once again this year.
But will his squad include Newcastle’s number 10? Saint-Maximin has never represented his country at senior level, and has spoke openly about his desire to play at the World Cup.
However, an article in the Athletic suggests that the 25-year-old has little to no hope of going to the tournament.
“We don’t talk about Saint-Maximin as a top player here,” French football journalist Christophe Larcher told the Athletic.
“We know he is very gifted, but he is seen as selfish and not intelligent on the ball. He needs to fit into the team if Didier Deschamps, the France coach, is going to pick him. He simply hasn’t done enough.”
That is a scathing assessment of Saint-Maximin. However, he should use it as fuel for the rest of 2022.
World Cup dream can motivate Saint-Maximin and help Newcastle
Saint-Maximin has been a talisman for Newcastle ever since his 2019 arrival. He’s carried the team on his own at times, winning games with his individual brilliance.
However, he wouldn’t need to play a similar role for France – they have more than enough quality all over the pitch.
And that’s an area where Newcastle are improving too. They are no longer reliant on just one player, with higher quality players arriving in January.
The arrivals of Kieran Trippier and Bruno Guimaraes have made a real difference, and even more quality should arrive in the summer. But that should help Saint-Maximin rather than hinder him.
We can be less reliant on him, but it can also make him better. He clearly needs better players around him – players he can trust.
Perhaps his selfishness comes from his own self belief, or an awareness of how much better he is than those around him. But with more quality around him, Saint-Maximin can lend the ball and trust his teammates more.
ASM must bounce back from criticism in remaining nine games
With nine games to go this season, Saint-Maximin is under a lot of pressure. There has been some criticism aimed at him in recent weeks. He needs to prove the doubters wrong and show why he is still a key component for Eddie Howe.
But he also must use the end of the campaign as a chance to show Deschamps what he can offer at international level.
Saint-Maximin’s moments of individual brilliance are unrivalled. It’s his work off the ball that must improve, as well as his ability to bring others into the game.
Largely, his end product has been decent this season. He’s scored key goals in black and white, netting five times in the Premier League.
Time is running out for Saint-Maximin to achieve his World Cup dream, but he must use that as motivation to take his game to the next level.
He can get better, and that will only help Newcastle United.