Gary Neville hailed the performance of ‘breathtaking’ Allan Saint-Maximin in Friday’s draw with Leeds United and feels manager Steve Bruce does not get the credit he deserves.
The Magpies picked up just their second point of the campaign with a 1-1 draw against Marcelo Bielsa’s side. Raphinha gave the Whites a 13th-minute lead but it was level at the break after the Frenchman’s superb equaliser. The Result sees the Tynesiders 18th in the table while winless Leeds sit two places above them.
Saint-Maximin has played every minute of Newcastle’s five top-flight games this season. And the former Nice star had bagged two goals to date.
Neville was on Sky Sports punditry duty landside Jamie Carragher and the former England star was impressed with what he saw.
“We were defenders in the Premier League but every team has two or three players who are unpredictable, he’s breathtaking to watch Saint-Maximin,” he said, per Chronicle Live.
The former France Under-21 star moved to St James’ Park in the summer of 2019. He penned a six-year deal and has become a firm fans’ favourite.
While not prolific in front of goal, the winger chips in with important goals. That could be key to Newcastle’s chances of surviving in the Premier League in what is expected to be a tough season.
The north-east outfit rallied to finish 12th in 2020-2021 but any spot above the bottom three will be welcomed.
Neville throws arm around Bruce
Bruce was not a popular choice to succeed Rafael Benitz in the dugout. There were many fans who felt it was a step backwards after having the experienced Spaniard in charge.
But, two years later he is still in the post and trying to keep the club afloat. Joe Willock was the only summer addition as he made his loan dal from the second half of last season permanent.
Therefore it is vital that the manager gets the best out of what he already has. And Neville believes that Bruce’s role in Saint-Maximin’s development is being underplayed by the Magpies faithful.
“You’re never going to hear Newcastle fans say that the form of Saint-Maximin is down to the manager,” he added. “But if it was any other club you’d say the manager would be getting the best out of him.
“No one thinks that at Newcastle because Steve Bruce doesn’t get the credit. The way he plays with freedom and expression, that’s not someone who feels they’re being held back or not got the freedom to do what they want.
“He’s a massive threat, he does everything you don’t want him to do as a defender.”