Allan Saint-Maximin reckons he could be the one to take centre stage when Cristiano Ronaldo returns to action when Man Utd face Newcastle on Saturday.
The Portuguese icon is on course to make his second debut for Man Utd at the weekend. Ronaldo has already reported to the club’s Carrington training ground after a suspension cut short his international break with Portugal.
The world’s gaze will be fixed on Old Trafford for the contest. Though Saint-Maximin has insisted he could be the one people are talking about after the contest concludes.
Speaking to in-house Newcastle television station NUFC TV (via the Express), the mesmeric French attacker said: “I will try to do my best because I’m sure the world will watch this game because of Ronaldo. But I know my quality.
“I know what I can do on the pitch, and I know it’ll be a really hard game. I know we have a tough game at the weekend against Manchester United.
“We are working a lot in training which is why I feel a little bit tired. But it’s really important, because we need a win.
“We need the win to start the season. And even if we play against Man Utd, we know if every player gives the best they can give, we can win this game so let’s do it.”
The 24-year-old is under no illusion that the Magpies face an uphill struggle on Saturday. However, he insisted Man Utd are not “invincible” despite an incredible transfer window that saw the arrivals of Ronaldo, Raphael Varane and Jadon Sancho.
“Even if it’s Man Utd it’s not like they’re invincible,” added Saint-Maximin.
“We have to keep going and to try to do the best things we can do to win the game. If we can’t win then we don’t want to lose. That’s the type of mentality we have to have.
“The Premier League is really tough. I saw their game against Wolves and they had a lot of chances to win the match.
“Even before Ronaldo signed, they had a great team, and they win games. So, for sure, with Cristiano Ronaldo now, they look much better but we have to stay focussed.”
Lingard gives Man Utd ultimatum
Meanwhile, Jesse Lingard has reportedly told Manchester United he needs proof he will receive more game before January 1 – or the player will open negotiations with clubs interested in his signature.
The England attacker is in the final year of his deal and has been offered fresh terms to extend his stay with United. However, the 28-year-old has rebuffed United’s initial approach and is strongly considering a free transfer move next summer.
With Paul Pogba, Bruno Fernandes, Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood all blocking his path, Lingard faces quite the task to get minutes at United.
As a result, ESPN sources that if nothing is agreed then Lingard will leave for free next summer. He will also be free to start talks with clubs from outside of England from January.
Lingard wants regular football to keep his place in Gareth Southgate’s England squad ahead of the 2022 World Cup.
West Ham are the most obvious suitors, with the player having impressed during a loan stint. David Moyes’ side made a big push to sign the player, but ultimately walked away with United demanding £25m. Everton and AC Milan are among others thought to also be keen.