Allan Saint-Maximin wants to sack Newcastle in Europe as French wizard chases dream World Cup 2026 spot. | Popgen Tech
THE dates have yet to be announced, but for Allan Saint-Maximin the countdown to the 2026 World Cup has already begun.
Newcastle’s French wizard is on a mission – to be Kylian Mbappe’s partner-in-crime when Les Bleus kick off their campaign in North America.
Saint-Maximin (25) was apparently set to break into Didier Deschamps’ squad for Qatar, only for injuries to spoil his chances.
But the fit-again forward has already bounced back from the disappointment with an eye-catching performance off the bench in Newcastle’s 1-0 Carabao Cup win over Bournemouth on Tuesday.
Saint-Maximin are good pals with World Cup final hat-trick hero Mbappe and wings Ousmane Dembele and Marcus Thuram.
And with the likes of 36-year-old striker Olivier Giroud likely to be gone in 3-and-a-half years, Saint-Maximin knows the time could be ripe for him to break into his country’s squad.
He said: “Playing for France would mean everything to me.
“I hope one day I have the chance to show my qualities for Les Bleus. Of course, it won’t be easy. Everyone saw the character of the players in the World Cup final and this is a team full of talent.
“But if I keep working hard and playing well for Newcastle, I hope to get noticed.
“It’s not like I’m at a small club. We are third in the best league in the world, so that can only help.”
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The St James’ Park star added: “I really don’t know how close I am to selection.
“There was talk of a call-up earlier this season, but I came back from injury just two weeks before the World Cup started, not being good enough to break into the squad.
“I do believe I am good enough to play with friends in the national team.
“I can help them and they can help me become a better player.”
Saint-Maximin may still be getting over the disappointment of his country losing that penalty shootout against Argentina in the Doha final six days ago.
But Toon head coach Eddie Howe knows that if the high-flying Magpies are to maintain their place in the top four, he will need the forward at his most mesmerizing best.
They travel to Leicester on Boxing Day and sit third in the table, although Saint-Maximin have been restricted to just seven league games so far – with their last start coming in August.
It’s not like I’m at a small club. We are third in the best league in the world, so that can only help.
It is a terrifying prospect for Newcastle’s opponents if he is fit and in form for the rest of the season, especially with a potential French call-up dominating his mind.
But regaining his place in the Newcastle team and helping Howe’s side qualify for Europe are his more immediate aims.
He said: “At the moment I just want Newcastle to do well.
“That’s my focus and I’m very excited about the rest of the season.
“Leicester will be tough because they have recovered from a poor start and have excellent players.
“And like us they won in the cup in the week and will feel confident. Playing European football next season is a big challenge, but I am sure we are capable.
“As the club is now, I believe we can achieve great things.”
Greatness with Newcastle will also help Saint-Maximin realize his French dream.