Allan Saint-Maximin inspired a stunning Newcastle United comeback on Saturday afternoon to hand a boost to Steve Bruce’s hopes of staying in the Premier League this season, but another name arguably stole the show at Turf Moor.
The Magpies were heading for a frustrating result until the Frenchman’s 57th-minute introduction as he came off the bench to score and assist two goals in quick succession.
He first found Jacob Murphy before a superb solo effort was rifled home, both within eight minutes of coming onto the pitch.
And whilst he deserves plenty of plaudits, Newcastle’s opening goalscorer deserves just as much, having made a considerable impact throughout the 90 minutes.
Indeed, Murphy was amongst Bruce’s highest-rated starters (7.4), as per SofaScore ratings and this was something echoed by ChronicleLive’s Lee Ryder, who claimed the wing-back bounced back from an indifferent opening half to form a brilliant partnership with Saint-Maximin.
The 26-year-old was one of the Magpies’ most influential players as he recorded 66 touches, a feat only bettered by Jonjo Shelvey – understandably as he’s supposed to dictate play from the engine room.
But that merely showed how Newcastle relied on Murphy down that right flank, he only got better when Bruce replaced the struggling forward duo of Joelinton and Dwight Gayle.
The 5 foot 9 dynamo also managed to provide two accurate crosses and pulled off one successful dribble but he too contributed defensively to great effect.
As per SofaScore, Murphy made two tackles, which was only bettered by one player on the pitch – Erik Pieters (six), who the Magpies star often went to battle with.
By comparison, central defensive duo Ciaran Clark and Federico Fernandez combined for the same number of tackles. Murphy also chipped in with one interception and one block too.
The £25k-per-week dynamo earned the glowing praise of Alan Shearer on Twitter as he couldn’t contain his excitement at the victory, so whilst Saint-Maximin will be the main name spoken about, you cannot ignore the industrious contribution of the former Norwich City graduate.
He’s still set to be out of contract in the summer, so the Magpies hierarchy will need to act on Bruce’s wishes sooner rather than later after that display.
AND in other news, “There’s rumours” – Exclusive: Marcus Bent drops big claim on ex-player returning to Newcastle…