During yet another ‘exclusive’ for Football Insider, Alex Bruce has revealed the key areas Allan Saint-Maximin has been told to work on by his dad – his consistency, fitness levels and ability to do the ‘ugly stuff’.
Alex claims the Newcastle boss not only wants him to deliver on a more regular basis on the pitch – knowing a player of his talent has the ability to do so – but also hopes to see his fitness improve.
As he explains below, Bruce clearly feels getting him in better shape will not only allow him to stay injury free and play more regularly, but give him the energy to do the ‘ugly side’ of the game at the other end of the pitch.
When asked what the Frenchman has been told to work by Bruce senior, here’s what his son told Football Insider:
“My dad would also like to see him a little bit more on the pitch.
“He’s had a couple of injuries so the reliability of putting your hat on him to do the other side, do the ugly side as well, is something that he’ll want to improve on.
“But by god, when he’s got the ball he’s got fantastic ability and he possesses that bit of magic everyone wants.”
Our record with and without the Frenchman in the side says everything you need to know about his impact, so getting him in the best shape possible has to be our top priority. After all, he’s useless when sidelined for weeks with a hamstring injury!
When it comes to his consistency, that’s something that could come with maturity and time. Like Adama Traore, he always has the beating of his man, but what he then does with the ball after doing so is pretty unpredictable, despite his undeniable technical ability.
Then to his will to work back and defend. There’s been times he’s looked reluctant to track back, but I generally believe that’s because he’s put all of his energy into carrying the ball forward from deep to get us on the counter attack this season!
That said, he still pulls his weight, with him not shirking his defensive duties in our last two away trips to West Brom and Southampton.
He’s exciting enough as it is, but if he can keep his head down, work hard and develop these three traits Bruce clearly feels he needs to develop, we have one hell of a player on ours hands!