Newcastle manager Steve Bruce says he cannot put a timeframe on the returns of star man Allan Saint-Maximin and captain Jamaal Lascelles as both continue to suffer the after-effects of Covid-19.
There were rumours circulating that the pair had been absent from the team lately due to a bust-up, but it has since been confirmed they had tested positive for coronavirus.
Steve Bruce is still without Allan Saint-Maximin and Jamaal Lascelles for Newcastle United
Lascelles (left) and Saint-Maximin have both been suffering with the effects of long Covid
‘There’s been a lot written, so I’ll try and put the record straight,’ said Bruce.
‘They are not ready to return until the doctors tell us. They’ve got symptoms. Everybody’s different with the symptoms.
‘Certainly we expect them to be back but how long? I really can’t put a timeframe on it. Probably Jamaal before Allan.
‘But we hope we can see an improvement in the both of them and they can join the squad in the next week, two weeks, maybe.’
Saint-Maximin is one of Newcastle’s star players and the club have struggled in his absence
Saint-Maximin is arguably the club’s most creative player and his presence has been sorely missed.
The 23-year-old winger returned home to France to recuperate with his family.
‘He’s only a young fella, and it’s wherever he wanted to decide to self-isolate,’ added Bruce.
‘He had 10 days back in Newcastle and has proved negative with a test. But it’s the after-effects that the medical people are not happy with at the moment. We just have to accept it.’
The Frenchman took to Instagram to inform fans of his situation and revealed that despite rumours he is happy at Newcastle and with manager Steve Bruce.
The French winger revealed on Instagram that he has a good relationship with Steve Bruce
‘I feel great. I have no problem, nothing. Not injured.
‘[I have] No problem with the club, with Steve Bruce. I love the club, I love the fans. I love everything, I love my life in England and everything and I feel great. That is the only thing you have to know.’
‘No, I have no problem with Steve Bruce, no problem. I love this trainer a lot and he takes care of me so I have no problem with Steve Bruce,’ he added.
On the subject of Saint-Maximin and Lascelles wellbeing Bruce added: ‘My thoughts are with the two players, and the welfare of them. It’s frightening when you think they are young and fit and absolutely supreme athletes. If anybody needs reminding of how serious this is, then we have witnessed it.
Lascelles (with his parents Tim (right) and Jill (centre) in 2017) has also been out of action
‘We’ve had vomiting, sores, mouth ulcers, no smell, no taste, but the big thing, and which is worrying, is the welfare of one or two of them. It’s not great at all.
‘That long-term Covid is something which you wouldn’t think possible in young, fit athletes. Unfortunately, it is so.
‘They go for a walk for half an hour and then they want to go back to bed.. It’s as brutal as that.’
Saint-Maximin who joined Newcastle from French side Nice last year is a father of three
The pressure is mounting on Bruce following a rocky patch on and off the pitch, culminating in Tuesday night’s Carabao Cup quarter-final defeat at Championship Brentford.
The last thing the 59-year-old needs on Boxing Day is a trip to City, the scene of a 5-0 defeat last season.
But he insisted: ‘That’s the Premier League, that’s what it is. We managed to get a result (a 2-2 draw at home) against them last year.
‘We got heavily beaten at the Etihad. We’re playing against one of the great teams. Let’s dust ourselves down after what happened the other night and get ready for a huge challenge.’