The NUFC coach seems to be delighted with the 22-year-old so far, with him shining in our 2-1 win over St-Etienne on Saturday, but he seems keen to remind the explosive winger that he must show the right ‘work ethic – both in his attacking AND defensive play.
The NUFC coach insists that he’s had several ‘maverick’ players in the past who have bought into what he’s asked for and doesn’t believe it will be a problem, but it is worth noting that Saint-Maximin’s discipline and tracking back (or lack of it) was something Patrick Vieria was critical of during his time at Nice.
Here’s what Bruce has had to say about the Frenchman following his exciting cameo on Saturday:
“The one thing he will have to do is work because if he doesn’t work, he doesn’t play. Simple,”
“No matter how good you are, it’s a team game so yes I’ve had a few mavericks who have bought into what I’ve done.
“The best one of them all was the boy Dugarry who I took a long, long time ago. Maverick, was supposed to be this, that and the other. He was sensational for me for 12 months so I’ve got no worries there.”
“He wants to go the other way, which I can understand, but he’s got to make sure he’s got a work ethic for the team because that’s vitally important, too,”
While I like the idea of players playing with the ‘shackles off’ and expressing themselves in attack, Bruce does raise a very good point here – especially when this is a side that’s prided itself on effort, energy and intensity over the past two seasons.
Bruce then accepted the winger will ‘drive him crazy’ at times, but is excited to have brought some much needed pace and power to the side – something he feels is vital in the Premier League:
“I have already said – what can we expect?
“He will get you off your seat.
“He’s got that electrifying pace and he’s still only young.
“I’m sure he will drive me crazy at times, I am sure of that, but you can’t deny that his electrifying pace.
“Nowadays in the Premier League I think you need it.
“We needed to improve on that significantly in terms of pace and power.
“That is vitally important when you play in the big league.”
If his 30-minute showing against St-Etienne was anything to go by, we have a serious talent on our hands.
Let’s hope he can keep it up and take on board Bruce’s advice.
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About Olly Hawkins
Olly has been a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan - he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.