Newcastle boss Steve Bruce insists that there is “never a dull moment” when working with “testing” attacker Allan Saint-Maximin.
The 23-year-old has recently swapped his wide role for the number 10 slot, which remains a work in progress.
Indeed, the Frenchman is still adjusting to life with the Magpies after his move from Nice last summer. In that time, he has only scored five goals and eight assists.
His one goal and one assist so far this season came in the same game – the 3-1 win over Burnley.
But aside from his on-field contributions, Bruce has revealed how Saint-Maximan is a “unique” character off it.
“He is a bit different. Everything in life is a bit different from him. He is not your straightforward player, he is always going to be a challenge,” the manager said.
“But let me tell you something about him which is most important: he absolutely loves football, playing with his dog in the garden, or the kids.
“Ask him any result around Europe or any player and he will tell you, which is unique. He enjoys training and playing football.
“He is always going to be a test because of what he is – testing.”
Bruce looking for improvement
Saint-Maximan will likely feature on Friday as Newcastle face an in-form Southampton side.
And, amid the attacker’s general lack of goals and assists, Bruce feels there is more to come from him.
“He can win you a match, but there are times where you want him to do a bit more,” he added. “All of those things are in there, but he’s young, and he’s still coming to terms with it as far as I’m concerned, he’s still learning.
“He will test you to the limit, but he’s worth it. He’s a larger than life personality, and he’s enjoyable to watch, whether he’s getting kicked or he’s taking on somebody.
“Whatever it is, there’s never a dull moment.”
Newcastle head into Friday’s game off the back of a 2-1 win over Everton. Southampton, meanwhile, will be without star striker Danny Ings after he picked up an injury.