Eddie Howe has explained why Allan Saint-Maximin was left out of his Newcastle United starting XI at Everton.
The Frenchman hasn’t started a game in over a month after picking up a calf injury during the 1-0 home win over Aston Villa.
He returned to France for specialised treatment, forcing him to miss the trips to West Ham United and Brentford.
Saint-Maximin was back in the matchday squad for Brighton - appearing a second-half substitute - but missed the visit to Southampton through illness.
Injuries and illness mean the 25-year-old has barely trained, hence why he settled for a place on the bench at Chelsea and Everton.
“Maxi wasn’t close to starting today,” Howe said, speaking after the 1-0 defeat at Goodison Park.
“He’s had two training sessions in four weeks and when you have an intense spell of games like we had, it’s very difficult to get that load into him that he needs.
“The trouble is, if you start him without the base, there is a very high chance he’ll get injured.
“We’ve decided to use him from the bench again.”
Saint-Maximin was at the centre of two big moments at Goodison Park following his 71st-minute introduction.
The winger was on the receiving end of a dangerous cynical foul by Toffees midfielder Allan, which resulted in a red card after a VAR check.
Saint-Maximin played a questionable part in the hosts’ 99th-minute winner as he conceded possession in midfield in the build-up to Alex Iwobi’s goal.
Howe, however, was pleased with the Frenchman’s contribution.
United’s head coach said: “I thought he did well when he came on.
“He gave us an outlet and did what he always does, he’s a threat one-v-one and dribbled with the ball very well.”