Newcastle United have suffered a potentially huge blow ahead of their Premier League clash against Fulham on Sunday afternoon, with big question marks over Allan Saint-Maximin’s injury status.
The former Nice winger was forced off with less than 20 minutes to go of the Magpies’ 1-0 win over Sheffield United last time out, and speaking in his pre-match press conference, Bruce confirmed that the winger is a major doubt for the trip to the Cottagers today.
The manager said: “Saint-Maximin, we don’t know if he’s got a calf (injury), or whether it’s a kick as well. We’ll see how he is.”
When asked if the Frenchman’s injury was serious, Bruce added: “We hope not. It looked a bit innocuous, but whether it’s a strain, or whether it’s a kick, he’s not quite sure, so we’ll see how he is in the next 24 or 48 hours.”
The winger was in fantastic form against the Blades last time out, and as per Sofascore, his 8.1 match rating was the highest of any player on the pitch. He completed an incredible 15 of his 16 dribbles on the night and also won 19 of his 24 duels, and it was no surprise that he came in for some rave reviews after the game.
The Shields Gazette‘s Liam Kennedy, who gave him an eight in his player ratings, wrote: “What a player. He’s turned up with the want to entertain. Some unbelievable runs from all over the park. Quiet in the last two games – not this time around. Shame he picked up an injury to end his night.”
Aside from the fact that fans might be gutted at missing out on seeing him one final time this season, there’s also the very real prospect that Saint-Maximin may have actually played his last game for the club.
Speaking on talkSPORT earlier this week, the Frenchman said: “I have to be honest, sometimes you have to think about yourself. The most important thing is the team, of course, but you have to think sometimes about your future and that’s why I say I don’t want to fight for one more year to be safe.
“So I hope we try to do everything to have more ambition and to win a trophy and fight for the first place, it can be great.”
Unless the Magpies enjoy the kind of summer transfer window which convinces Saint-Maximin that the club has the right “ambition” to match his own, he could be on his way out, and that would mean Newcastle fans have already seen the last of the dazzling Frenchman in a black and white shirt.
They will be hoping that his injury is nothing too serious, and even more importantly, that he stays for the long-term rather than jumping ship over the summer.