Newcastle head coach Steve Bruce must see Allan Saint-Maximin’s confidence as the lighting of the blue touch paper and instil immediate change to his tactics.
The French summer signing is understood to have trained alone on Thursday in an effort to prove his fitness ahead of Sunday’s trip to Tottenham Hotspur, with the Chronicle quoting our £16.5million man stating his confidence that he will play in North London.
Bruce was forced to leave the 22-year-old out of his plans when we were comfortably beaten at Carrow Road last time out, and Saint-Maximin suffered having to watch from the sidelines as Norwich City put three past Martin Dubravka.
“It was really hard,” the former OGC Nice star said. “I came on the pitch against Arsenal and the team [were] do[ing] a good job. I felt very good. When you feel like this you can do a good job.
“But it’s the Premier League, and the game against Norwich is a tough one. When I see the result, I feel like s*** that I can’t do anything to help my team.
“I don’t think it would have made any difference if I played, because they played well and we didn’t play well, so now we have to do a great job against Tottenham.”
Speaking on his return from a hamstring injury, the 5 ft 6 forward added: “I think there is a chance [that I will be back against Spurs] because I work hard, I do a lot of training.
“I’ll train on Thursday – normally it’s a day off, but I’ll train then – and I think I can train three days, and can see if I can play against Tottenham.
“I feel a lot better, and I think if I get through the training on Friday, I can play.”
Bruce must see Saint-Maximin’s confidence that he will be fit as reason to hand the summer arrival his first start in Black and White when we travel to Tottenham on Sunday, and in doing so make a change to his formation.
The 3-5-2 our head coach is favouring at present has not returned the results we are after, and showed a clear lack of support to the striker against Norwich while congesting the centre of the field.
Moving back to a three-attacker line-up, similar to the ones utilised by Rafa Benitez last season, would offer Joelinton the support he so desperately needed at Carrow Road, while allowing Saint-Maximin and Miguel Almiron to tackle top-four hopeful Spurs with much more ferocity.