Newcastle star and fan favourite Allan Saint-Maximin says that, if he had gone to the Premier League earlier, he would be further along in his career than he is now.
Speaking to France Football, Saint-Maximin spoke of the intensity of the Premier League and how it forces you to dig deeper than Ligue 1 does.
“If I had gone to the Premier League before, I would perhaps be further ahead in my career than I am now,” said Saint-Maximin.
“Because with the intensity of the matches, the rhythm that the fixture list demands, notably at the end of the year, the box-to-box style, all of that forces you to go deep into your potential.
“In Ligue 1, with the rhythm that is inferior, you do not have as many sprints at very high intensity to complete, so maybe you don’t push yourself as much as your engine could be pushed. This is no secret, in England, I have had to work harder.”
Saint-Maximin also dismissed claims that he is merely a gifted footballer who doesn’t need to work at his craft, saying that even Lionel Messi had to work hard to get to where he is.
“People think I do nothing, that I live off my “natural” ability,” said Saint-Maximin. “I am not someone who likes to show what he has done, that likes to show off everything he does, who shows off in every room, posting videos, photos.
“Maybe because I am a believer too and in my faith it is not necessarily good to always show off what we do, as it is a form of vanity. And then we have to have a conception of the notion of work. Lionel Messi for example.
“Ok, he certainly has out of this world coordination qualities. But when you watch his handling of the ball, which is so special, I am convinced that it is because he must have walked around almost the entire time only with a ball.
“His touch, frequency, flexibility of his ankle were refined in all these moments. So then to say that he did not need to work, when I think that all the practice you do that goes back to your childhood is part of the job…”
When he first signed for us, Allan Saint-Maximin was portrayed as this player who had bags of ability but a very poor attitude. We, as fans, though we were signing another Hatem Ben Arfa.
While Ben Arfa was brilliant, he never quite reached the level he was able to reach. That was partly due to his poor attitude towards training and off the field life. Saint-Maximin, on the other hand, has been a model professional from the word go on Tyneside.
His antics on social media, interacting with fans and posting videos playing football with his young children, have earned him a place in the hearts of many fans. Couple that with his cracking ability on the field and you’ve got a player who has every chance to be successful either here, or elsewhere, throughout his career.
Either way, he’s certainly a player I believe I’ll always have a fondness for. His ability is incredible, and he has the personality to match. Hopefully he’ll spend most of his career here…