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Lee Clark: Saint-Maximin Newcastle maverick; Why Kane to Man Utd reminds me of Shearer

Allan Saint-Maximin is certainly an exciting individual and a superb talent.

He makes things happen out of nothing, he scores goals, he can create goals, he make opportunities on a regular basis, and goes past people quite easily. He is the player that most Newcastle fans are hanging their hat on at this moment in time, in terms of producing that little bit of magic out of nothing. He's certainly a fans' favourite. And Newcastle fans were crying out for that type of player.

Saint-Maximin is certainly in the mould of those two great French wingers who have represented Newcastle in David Ginola and Laurent Robert. But you can't put him up alongside them at the moment because they did it over a consistent period and took their teams to good positions in the league. Ginola was in my team at Newcastle that was constantly challenging for the Premier League title, and Robert was one of the most important players in Sir Bobby Robson's era.

But Saint-Maximin is a player you would definitely call the maverick type. And Newcastle have now got some exciting players on the attacking side of the game. The issue that they've got is that a lot of the exciting attacking play hasn't been finished off with the goals, with Joelinton's form well documented.


Valentino Lazaro future

When Lazaro first came into the team, Steve Bruce was still playing with a 3-4-3 system. But since then the formation has changed to a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1, and when he's had his opportunities higher up the pitch, Lazaro has been another player who has looked exciting, with plenty of pace to go past players.

Newcastle do have pace in the wide areas, with players who can go past fullbacks and enjoy attacking them. They're not going to beat them all the time, but they have the positivity to have a go. Since the change of formation Lazaro hasn't started a lot of games, but he has come on and certainly made an impact and contribution to the results they've got.

It's all up in the air if we're going to play any more games this season, but if he gets those opportunities, I think there is certainly a player there that would be a good addition for next season to the group of players that are already there, without a doubt.


Will Kane follow in Shearer's footsteps?

Alan Shearer won the Premier League with Blackburn, an unfancied and small provincial town club, but had some terrific players and a terrific manager in Kenny Dalglish, as well as a brilliant owner in Jack Walker.

But at Newcastle we were always challenging for the title with Blackburn, Manchester United and Arsenal. So when Alan was convinced to come to Newcastle, he was coming to a club that were Premier League contenders. He was also coming to the club as the world-record signing, as well as signing for his local club and wearing the iconic number nine. All those factors were huge in getting Alan back to Newcastle.

I think the biggest one for Alan, obviously from getting to know him in the dressing room, was his ambition. And at the time, Newcastle were very, very ambitious. I know we didn't end up winning anything, and Alan didn't during his time at the club, but that wasn't because a lack of ambition.

When Alan was playing, the owners gave the managers, whoever they there, the finances and tools to go and get the players that were required to be competitive. There was obviously a couple of second-places in the league, a couple of semi-finals in the FA Cup, runs in the Champions League etc.

I don't think Alan ever thought the club lacked ambition when he was there and I think if you are player and you think the club has the same ambition, then you're prepared to stick it out. Especially Alan being the local lad, and the superstar of the club, I think that was the thing for him.

Everyone knows he could've joined Manchester United on numerous occasions and probably thought that would've been an easier option in getting his personal trophy cabinet filled up. But I think he wanted to be one of the players who delivered it for his hometown club and it was unfortunate it didn't happen.

I think Harry Kane has that type of feeling with Spurs. I can't speak about Harry like I speak about Alan, as I don't know him personally, but looking from the outside I can see that he has a similar sort of feeling for the club, in that he's not pushing to get away all the time, and he wants to be part of a Spurs team that can go and win trophies.

Even though this season will be probably end in disappointment, he will want to be part of a Jose Mourinho squad when the season starts, when he's on a level playing field in terms of his recruitment and how he can work the team to get them trained in his methods.

What ultimately has to happen is that the club must try and match Kane's ambition by delivering a squad of players that can win trophies. Obviously they've been to the Champions League final, and up until this year they were always challenging for the title in various stages of the seasons.

I personally think he will stay for another season after this one, whenever this one is finished, to see what Jose can deliver. And if he's delivered what he has at previous clubs in terms of trophies, that will have a big impact on Kane.


What to do now?

The lockdown has been tough so far. Your normal way of life is gone. No sport at all, never mind just football. The good thing to come out of it for me is that, because obviously when I'm working, I don't spend a lot of time with family. So it has been great that all the family is now together.

Football is not the most important thing at this time, let me be clear about that. People's health and safety is the most important thing. But I think, for the integrity of the game, this season has to be finished.

If it means that you go however long it takes, whenever things are cleared up around the world, and you can get on with the Premier League, you've got to do it. That way you can make sure Liverpool can win the title, which they rightly should do. But you can never do it without finishing the season.

I know people are saying null and void, but I don't believe that is the answer. Other people have said let the season finish now and let them have what they've got. But if you look at the Championship, Leeds are six points clear of Fulham in third position with 27 points to play for. That wouldn't be right.

I've seen a quote from Ian Holloway and I thought it was really apt. He said that this season has to be finished because there's been managers that have lost their jobs because of results this season. If you're going to null and void it, then it means results don't matter, and then those managers shouldn't have lost those jobs.

You've got to finish the season, even if it means going into September, October, November and then worry about next season when it comes to it.

Because there'll be too many situations where there'll be needle cases, there'll be clubs who have been promoted who think they shouldn't have, clubs who have been relegated who believed they had a chance of getting out of it, and it will just be an absolute mess.

But once again, first of all, the most important thing is getting over this terrible situation and after that making sure the leagues are completed.


Blyth Spartans

I left Blyth Spartans about three weeks ago. I decided to move on, it wasn't the right project for me. It proved a bit more difficult than I expected. I've had a bit of a couple of weeks before the virus kicked in to get myself back into the football, watching Newcastle etc. But now's there is no football at all.

I haven't really thought about what I want to do next because not long after I made the decision, this situation arose. So I haven't really had time to think about what I want to do next or what my next moves are, or if I want to stay in the game in that sort of capacity.

Lee Clark
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Lee Clark

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