Steve Bruce has confirmed that Newcastle winger Allan Saint-Maximin is unlikely to start against Leeds United on Tuesday evening.
The Frenchman has been missing for months after suffering from COVID-19 and injuries but returned to training in the past week.
Saint-Maximin came off the bench for 19 minutes against Aston Villa on Saturday, his first appearance since November for the Magpies.
Bruce confirmed the news in his pre-match press conference, with journalist Chris Waugh relaying the quotes on his personal Twitter account.
“I’d think it’d be too much for him but we’ll see,” he said. “He’s been out for something like eight weeks. We’ve got to box a little bit clever.”
Bruce asked if Allan Saint-Maximin is ready to start: "I'd think it'd be too much for him but we'll see. He's been out for something like eight weeks. We've got to box a little bit clever." #NUFC #LUFC
— Chris Waugh (@ChrisDHWaugh) January 25, 2021
If there was one player that could take advantage of Leeds and Marcelo Bielsa’s system, it would be Saint-Maximin.
In a Newcastle side that lacks any real presence and danger moving forward on the ball, the 23-year-old is the complete opposite when in possession.
Saint-Maximin completes 3.4 dribbles per game according to WhoScored, more than double the number of anyone in the Newcastle squad.
Looking at their squad against Villa last time out, Bruce went for a 5-3-2 formation with no wingers and Andy Carroll partnering Callum Wilson.
Carroll may cause the Whites occasional problems in the air, but the Magpies are lacking the players that can get them into positions to whip those dangerous crosses into the box.
With Diego Llorente likely to start at St James’ Park, it means that Luke Ayling and Stuart Dallas will return to their usual roles.
Hopefully, they won’t have to deal with the likes of Saint-Maximin until late on in the second-half tomorrow night.
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