Eddie Howe responds to Newcastle United criticism directed at Allan Saint-Maximin

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Eddie Howe has defended Allan Saint-Maximin following recent criticism directed at the Newcastle United star.

The Frenchman hasn’t started a Premier League match for the Magpies since the 1-0 win against Aston Villa on February 13 due to a calf injury and illness.

In the three substitute appearances Saint-Maximin has made since then, some fans have been unimpressed by his impact and began to ask questions of their star winger and how fits into Eddie Howe’s starting XI.

The 25-year-old, often active on social media, has got wind of the criticism and vowed to prove his critics wrong.

In the past fortnight, Saint-Maximin, who joined United from Nice for £16.5million in August 2019, has posted on Instagram with the caption “people forget quickly, but I know what to do to restore their memory”.

‘Maxi is a unique footballer’

Asked about the Saint-Maximin criticism, Howe responded: “I don’t necessarily hear that or read that, and I think that’s healthy for me because I judge what I see.

“I’ve got very high expectations for Maxi because I know what he can deliver at his best. You go back to the Everton game at home where he was absolutely electric.

“Maxi is certainly a unique footballer. I’ve never coached anyone quite like him, and that’s a positive thing. Some of the things he can do and some of the things he’s done in the last two weeks training-wise have been very, very good to see.

“For a player of his type, consistency will always be a slight issue because it’s very difficult to do what he does.

“But as long as he’s really committed to doing the things he finds more difficult such as recovery runs and discipline off the ball, we know the other stuff will take care of itself.

“Maxi is very keen to make a difference, he’s very keen to do well for the team, he cares passionately about the club, so I’m excited to see what he can deliver.”

‘The break has been good for him’

Howe hopes Saint-Maximin will have benefitted from two weeks of training during the international, first in Dubai and at the club’s Benton training.

“Mentally, he’s very good,” Howe said, when asked about Saint-Maximin’s mood. “(He’s) trained very well in the period we’ve had away.

“Yeah, we haven’t seen much of him. If my memory is right, he had a calf injury and then he had a bad illness.

“Whenever a player has time away with that, it’s very difficult to get them back up to speed straight away.

“The break has actually been very good for him, he’s trained very well and we’re excited to see him back.

“He needs games. We had the game out in Dubai and we had a training game back here, two stimuluses that he needed, so hopefully he is close to his best.”