One of the only negatives from yesterday was the injury to Saint Maximin, who unfortunately suffered a recurrence of his hamstring injury after trying to get on the end of a quickly taken free kick.
As well as obviously being an enigmatic talent, the Frenchman is already winning hearts and minds among the fans.
Here’s what he then had to say after Sunday’s superb win at Spurs, praising the team’s performance and the fans brilliant support:
His social media interactions with the Toon Army, along with his appearance at the local food bank last week, after openly accepting an invitation on Twitter shows the kid is a class act off the pitch.
Sadly it will be a little longer before he can show his class on the pitch.
Steve Bruce has since confirmed the injury, saying “Saint-Maximin is a recurrence of a hamstring, and that’s a nightmare for us unfortunately.”
The Frenchman is almost certain to miss the games against Leicester and Watford and hopefully, the upcoming international break will allow him to recover properly.
If we had lost at Spurs, I’m sure Bruce would have taken some serious stick for risking him and rushing him back. Personally I don’t buy into that, as if the medical staff and indeed the player himself felt he was ready to play, then Bruce was right to play him. It’s impossible to predict that he would have pulled up again.
Indeed, I must admit that when I saw Saint Maximin trudging off and Atsu stripping off my heart sank a little. How wrong I was.
Atsu was outstanding, on and off the ball and his performance was all the more impressive considering he hasn’t had a pre season after getting injured playing for Ghana in the AFCON. It’s the time honoured cliche than one players misfortune is another’s opportunity.
Other options available to Bruce to replace Saint Maximin are Yoshinori Muto, who has played wide in a front three for Mainz, looked lively when he came on and was very unlucky to not get a free kick when he cleverly got the better of Sanchez and was cynically fouled as he broke away.
Matt Ritchie could also play further up with Willems coming in at left wing back, but after his performance yesterday, Atsu deserves to start against Leicester and Watford.