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Guardian’s Sunderland supporting journo nominates Newcastle star as PL player of the year

3 weeks ago
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Barry Glendenning is Deputy Sports Editor with The Guardian and the Irish journalist is also a big Sunderland fan.

In the past he has had plenty of ‘amusing’ digs at Newcastle United but his latest focus on NUFC is a lot more readable.

Glendenning starting his piece with: ‘We select a few contenders for the Premier League’s player of the season – and invite you to have your say. We have nominated some contenders for this category to get the discussion going.’

Only 48 hours after celebrating ‘four in row’ for Sunderland, as play-off defeat to Lincoln ensures the Mackems have a fourth League One season to look forward to, the man from the Guardian has discussed five contenders for that Premier League player of the year crown.

The Sunderland supporting journalist putting forward Kevin de Bruyne, Tomas Soucek, Kalvin Phillips, N’Golo Kante and…Allan Saint-Maximin as contenders.

This is what he the man from The Guardian had to say about the Newcastle United star’s credentials:

‘Allan Saint-Maximin (Newcastle)

When Newcastle signed Allan Saint-Maximin on a six-year deal two seasons ago, the perceived wisdom was that they had made a mistake in offering such a long contract to a young winger rumoured to be high maintenance, capable of extreme petulance and a potentially malign dressing-room influence. The 24-year-old has proved nothing of the sort and is one of very few players to have provided grounds for optimism in yet another season of gloomy disillusionment for perennially disgruntled Newcastle fans.

A guaranteed crowd-pleaser who would have fans out of their seats had they been allowed to sit in them this season, Saint-Maximin has no shortage of tricks in his locker and his absence was keenly felt when he was sidelined for almost two months either side of Christmas by a particularly nasty dose of Covid. Newcastle’s prospects of staying up looked bleak when he was again sidelined through injury, but it is no surprise the mercurial winger’s return coincided with a run of results that left Newcastle safe with several games to spare.’

Fair play to Glendenning for including ASM, although admittedly you would have to accept that apart from Kevin de Bruyne and possibly N’Golo Kante, these nominations aren’t really serious contenders to be thought of as PL POTY, rather they are quirky selections who have had good / very good seasons and intended to get people taking about not just the obvious contenders (Harry Kane, Ruben Dias etc).

As for Allan Saint-Maximin, there is no doubt he is great entertainment. However, there is now the challenge for ASM to step up from that, to still be a great entertainer but one with loads of goals and assists.

Last season (2019/20), in 26 Premier League appearances Allan Saint-Maximin managed three goals and four assists.

This season (2020/21), in 25 Premier League appearances Allan Saint-Maximin has produced three goals and four assists.

The 24 year old Frenchman does also contribute in terms of taking the ball forward and playing a key part in moves where others then score the goals and get the official assist.

However, it is also true that his fabulous dribbling skills are regularly not then matched, when Allan Saint-Maximin gets to the opposition box and so often chooses the wrong option, or doesn’t execute the final pass or shot in the most clinical or accurate of ways.

Whether trying to make that transformation to have a great end product as well as being great entertainment, is going to be with Newcastle United, or another club, remains to be seen…

The dream scenario of course is that the Newcastle United takeover at last is complete this summer, with then a quality manager brought in to manage talents like Allan Saint-Maximin and along with the new money / ambition, we see permanent signings of the quality of Joe Willock and others.

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