Newcastle United defender Jamal Lewis believes team-mate Allan Saint-Maximin is the “best dribbler in the Premier League”.
Saint-Maximin, 24, is a fan favourite on Tyneside, impressing fans with his fleet-footed approach and creative improvisation. It’s the kind of talismanic form that has dazzled St. James’ Park over the years, with echoes of Hatem Ben Arfa and Faustino Asprilla in his stride.
Signed from Nice two summers ago after he finished the 2018/19 Ligue 1 season having completed the most take-ons (143), ahead of second-placed Ben Arfa (116) then of Rennes, the French trickster has certainly translated that form to the Premier League.
During his two campaigns in the English top flight, only three players have cleared the 200-mark for completed take-ons, with Saint-Maximin (217) joining Wilfried Zaha (218) and Adama Traore (336) in that regard, adding further weight to Lewis’ assessment.
The penultimate match of last season saw Newcastle fans return to the terraces in a restricted capacity, and those who made the venture were treated to a sublime exhibition of showboating from Saint-Maximin, who completed 15 take-ons, the joint-most of any player in a single game across Europe’s top five leagues in 2020/21.
The other? Lionel Messi against Celta Vigo. Such was Saint-Maximin’s twinkle-toed form against the Blades that a video of him toying with the opposition backline went viral, with the Frenchman even responding to the initial tweet, thanking “Homer Simpson for coming to watch”, in reference to a cheer that was eerily reminiscent of the iconic cartoon character.
Thank you Homer Simpson for coming to watch my game and cheering me on ??❤️ https://t.co/CpZyee2khp
— Allan Saint-Maximin (@asaintmaximin) May 21, 2021
It is no wonder then that Lewis has come out and spoken in awe of his team-mate. As a left-back, the 23-year-old no doubt faces the wily right winger on the training ground consistently, and he believes the Newcastle man is second to none in the top flight when it comes to dribbling.
“He just makes it up,” Lewis told The Insight Pod when asked about Saint-Maximin’s eye-catching talent on the ball.
“It’s so off the cuff, I sometimes think even he doesn’t know what he’s going to do!
“His change of direction, his creativity, ball dribbling and control – I think he is probably the best dribbler in the league.
“On his day, I don’t think you can tackle him. He can maybe give you the ball but on his day, I don’t think a man can tackle him because he’s that sharp.
“He’s a top player, that’s why the Newcastle fans love him – he’s an entertainer. He loves to entertain the fans.”
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