Newcastle boss Eddie Howe calls clear-the-air meeting to prevent a ‘fallout’ after Allan Saint-Maximin appeared to criticise his team-mates in an interview
- Allan Saint-Maximin seemed to blame his team-mates for his statistics
- Eddie Howe confirmed he had spoken to Saint-Maximin about the interview
- Howe said the Frenchman was ‘concerned’ about how the quotes came across
- The Newcastle boss claims the player’s comments were taken out of context
Eddie Howe was forced to hold a clear-the-air meeting between Allan Saint-Maximin and his Newcastle team-mates as doubt lingers over the winger’s future at the club.
In an interview with French magazine So Foot, the player appeared to criticise his colleagues when implying he would have more assists if they were able to convert the chances he creates.
He said: ‘The day I have a player capable of finishing actions, I will make seasons with 10-15 assists, and I will change dimensions in people’s heads.’
Allan Saint-Maximin appeared to criticise his team-mates in an interview with a magazine
Newcastle boss Eddie Howe has called a clear-the-air squad meeting to avoid a ‘fallout’
Saint-Maximin – who has five goals and four assists this season – says his comments were taken out of context and knocked on Howe’s office door on Thursday morning to explain as much.
The head coach, while accepting that explanation, did not seem overly impressed by the situation and the episode casts yet more uncertainty on the 25-year-old’s future.
Sportsmail revealed last month that Newcastle’s hierarchy would consider offers for Saint-Maximin this summer, given they are mindful of staying ahead of spending rules as they reshape the squad.
Howe has insisted he wants to keep the player and is keen to avoid any fallout from the interview.
‘I don’t think I will be fining him, it is more a case of education and making sure players know what we expect of them,’ he said.
‘We will be speaking with the squad and making sure there’s no fallout from that, because unity has been our strength. It’s vitally important we keep that at all costs.
‘But I think I need to make this clear that Allan’s quotes didn’t come across in the way he meant them to. He was concerned yesterday (Thursday). We spoke, and in no way did he mean to damage the team and the unity we’ve built.
‘If he had meant those comments in the way they have come across and been published, then he wouldn’t have been in my office concerned about the reaction.
Saint-Maximin has scored five goals and made four assists for Newcastle this season
‘Of course, he said things in an interview, but it wasn’t in the context that he meant, although it happened.’
Howe added: ‘Ideally, I would not want any of my players speaking about anything other than themselves and their own careers. I don’t think players need to talk about their players or players from other clubs.
‘It’s all about our club. It is about protecting the team and everything we do, giving off united and positive messages even in difficult moments, and that can be tough.’
Saint-Maximin issued a statement on Twitter in response to the backlash.
He said: ‘The interview I did with So Foot has been taken out of context and shortened on Twitter.
‘I never said anything negative about my team-mates, I simply said as any Newcastle fan would that I was looking forward to having an even better team so that we could progress collectively and that as a result I could also progress individually.’
The French winger responded to the backlash in a statement on Twitter on Friday