The rough treatment of Newcastle United winger Allan Saint-Maximin by West Ham should be taken as a compliment, according to Darren Bent.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, the former Spurs forward delivered his verdict after the 23-year-old was the most fouled player in the Premier League’s opening fixtures.
He was fouled seven times by the Hammers on Saturday with Everton’s Richarlison in second place being fouled six times, according to WhoScored data.
Steve Bruce replaced Saint-Maximin with Joelinton in the 75th minute with Newcastle 1-0 up.
He was frequently surrounded by West Ham players and Bent believes Newcastle can use the space this creates to their advantage.
Asked by Football Insider about Saint-Maximin’s performance, Bent said: “Not only did he get kicked off the pitch, he was double teamed, triple teamed, at times. Every time he got the ball there was two or three players around him.
“He needs to take that as a positive because that just shows what type of player he is. Teams don’t set out to put two or three on you if you’re an average player.
“He should take great positives from that, I know he’ll get frustrated at times like Wilfried Zaha, he gets the same treatment, whenever he gets the ball there’s two or three because you can’t really stop him.
“If he’s attracting double teams and triple teams that means players elsewhere are going to be free and that’s going to play into Newcastle’s hands.”
Saint-Maximin joined Newcastle from Nice last summer and played 30 times across all competitions last season.
He scored four goals and chipped in with seven assists as the Magpies finished 13th in the Premier League and reached the FA Cup quarter finals.
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