Allan Saint-Maximin has been in fine form for Newcastle United this season, scoring three goals with three assists in 13 games across the board, and Noel Whelan believes his “quality” will “win games” for Eddie Howe.

The 43-year-old has taken charge of a Newcastle side sitting 20th in the Premier League with only six points from 12 games. The Magpies are also without a win from their first dozen matches, so Howe will be desperate to stop the rot.

Saint-Maximin is Newcastle’s second-highest scorer this season and has accounted for 40% the Toon Army’s goals in the Premier League thus far. Whelan says Howe will relish the chance to work with Saint-Maximin as a result, telling Football Insider: “He’s always been very important.

“He gives them that extra bit of quality and makes Newcastle tick – he stands out like a sore thumb in that side. The fact that he’s been given that freedom and been unleashed in Eddie Howe’s system is going to suit him to a tee.

“His effectiveness is in the final third, and that’s where he’s going to win Newcastle games of football – which will be vital this season. He’s someone, a bit like Raphinha (of Leeds United), who can take a game by the scruff of the neck and make something happen. He needs that free role to hurt teams.

“He does do the defensive duty, helps the team going both ways and that mentality is massive when you’re trying to play a more attacking system.”

Newcastle are five points adrift of safety in the Premier League ahead of their trip to face Arsenal on Saturday afternoon and it won’t be an easy encounter – the Gunners boast four wins and a draw from their last five home games.

Saint-Maximin may be key to Newcastle getting a result at the Emirates Stadium as all three of his goals have come in games United have picked up points in.

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