Alan Shearer explains how these 2 Newcastle United players have been key to mini-revival
Alan Shearer has been talking about the upturn in recent results for Newcastle United.
After two wins in twenty games for Steve Bruce, to then pick up two victories in the next four has been a big relief for Newcastle fans.
Alan Shearer picking out two players who he believes have been key to the eight points in April, which immediately followed arguably the very lowest of many low points this season, the 3-0 defeat at Brighton.
Shearer pointing to Allan Saint-Maximin and Matt Ritchie as the pair who have underpinned Newcastle picking up two wins and two draws last month.
Alan Shearer saying about Steve Bruce bringing Ritchie back into the team: ‘…it’s been ballsy of the manager to reintegrate him into the team when there was obviously a problem between them.’
That ‘problem’ of course having been when Steve Bruce ridiculously blamed Matt Ritchie for the goal Wolves scored, only seconds after Ritchie had went onto the pitch as a sub. A quick free-kick by Shelvey meant the winger didn’t get a chance to tell the likes of Jacob Murphy the changes to the formation and individual positions, Ritchie calling Bruce a ‘coward’ for not taking responsibility himself.
The question for most Newcastle fans is why Steve Bruce had refused to play Matt Ritchie this season, especially with such a feeble run of form? Does Bruce then deserve credit for very belatedly doing the right thing and playing Ritchie?
Certainly, the Scottish international has made a major impact in these last four games, his crossing in open play and on set-pieces has been excellent, thankfully replacing Shelvey on most corners and free-kicks.
As for Allan Saint-Maximin, Alan Shearer says that in the past he has questioned the winger’s end product but accepts as well as that improving these last few matches, ASM has also been key to unsettling the opposition, with more space for others to operate in when players are drawn to try and stop the Frenchman.
Once again, I think clearly the vast majority of Newcastle supporters believe that the better results and slightly improved performances have come about despite Steve Bruce and not because of him.
Players such as Murphy and Ritchie who he had all but totally ignored, getting a chance finally, whilst Bruce also put back in place Rafa’s and the Newcastle players’ preferred three / five at the back formation.
Alan Shearer talking to The Athletic:
“Saint-Maximin has been the biggest plus since Brighton.
“In the past, I’ve had a go at his numbers, but because of his threat and the way he attracts two or three opposition players towards him, he frees up space for his team-mates.
“Saint-Maximin has been given a free role, which means he has to track back less, allowing him to do what he wants in a way that’s effective.
“He has not been a sideshow. He has been the focal point.
“Ritchie has been another key figure in Newcastle’s recovery.
“You know what he’s going to provide for the team but that predictability is good.
“He’ll get wide and he will fire the ball in.
“I like his spikiness, that drive he has and the standards that he demands from others.
“And you have to say it’s been ballsy of the manager to reintegrate him into the team when there was obviously a problem between them.”
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