llan Saint-Maximin has given Newcastle United a ‘different dimension’ since returning from injury, according to Steve Bruce.
The gifted Frenchman made just his second start of the season in the 1-0 win against Manchester United last time out after putting his hamstring issues behind him.
Ahead of that win against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, when the Magpies reverted to three at the back, Bruce admitted he did not have the pace in his side to play the way he wanted so had to set his side up to hit teams on the counter-attack.
But with Saint-Maximin, Matty Longstaff and DeAndre Yedlin among those energetic players to come into the team against the Reds at St James’ Park, Newcastle looked a lot more threatening.
“It’s given us a different option. The first minute, Allan picks it up, beats two or three and puts Almiron in,” Bruce told reporters ahead of the trip to Chelsea.
“It has given us something extra, a different dimension, and the introduction of DeAndre, too, whom I hadn’t seen a play before. I’d seen him play before, but obviously not witnessed him first-hand.
“That has given us that little bit of something you require in the Premier League, that little injection of pace, which was great.
“We forget Jo, he’s only 23. Allan’s 22. Longy’s 19 and his brother’s 21 so we’ve got a sprinkling of some good young players, which is always good to see.”
Longstaff filled in for the suspended Isaac Hayden against Manchester United and looks set to keep his place in the starting line-up at Stamford Bridge following a man of the match display on his Premier League debut.
The 19-year-old, playing alongside brother Sean in the middle of the park, scored the winning goal but also gave his side some much-needed bite out of possession as he harried the Reds’ midfielders.
“We haven’t really seen him play since he’s been here. We’ve seen little bits and pieces in training. It’s important he stays fit because he can give us something. He can beat someone and take you up the pitch quickly, which is vital to have.”