Gabriel Agbonlahor has tipped Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce to start Allan Saint-Maximin in their crunch clash with Leeds United tonight.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Aston Villa and England striker backed the 23-year-old to be the matchwinner at St. James’ Park in what he expects to be a tight game.

The Frenchman made a return to the side against Villa on Saturday after missing over two months of action with a calf injury and then suffering from the effects of long covid.

Newcastle United winger

He was introduced from the bench at Villa Park and Bruce warned in his press conference yesterday he was unlikely to start against Leeds.

“They’ve missed him so much,” Agbonlahor told Football Insider.

“You look at all the other teams. Leicester have Maddison, Villa have Grealish, Fulham with Lookman. You need that player. Sheffield United haven’t got that sort of player, Newcastle haven’t got that sort of player when he’s not playing.

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“When Saint-Maximin is back in the team they have someone who can make something happen when nobody else is producing anything, a player like Saint-Maximin can produce something out of the blue, something extraordinary. That’s what they need from him.

“Steve Bruce will be delighted that he’s back and I’m sure he can make a difference.

“In those tight games where it’s 0-0, that can be the player who goes and does something great and gets the winner. It wouldn’t surprise me if they go and do that tonight if they go and beat Leeds and he gets goals.

“Steve Bruce will be looking at this game and thinking ‘I think I might start him, I’m under pressure and he’s the sort of player who can open up the Leeds defence on a big St. James’ Park pitch.’”

In other news, Football Insider understands a club has made a move to re-sign a Newcastle United star as another deal all but done.