Alexander Isak injury ‘issue’ revealed after worrying Newcastle United stat presented to Eddie Howe
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Newcastle will be hoping to make it back-to-back wins in the league for the first time since April as they travel to face a newly-promoted Sheffield United on Sunday (4:30pm kick-off).
After starting Isak in the 0-0 draw at AC Milan in the Champions League on Tuesday, Magpies head coach Eddie Howe could be tempted to put top-scorer Callum Wilson back into the side in the striker position.
Wilson has scored three times for Newcastle already this season despite only starting one match. Meanwhile Isak has just scored in just one of his last 12 matches for The Magpies, an opening day brace against Aston Villa.
The 24-year-old ended last season without a goal in his final seven appearances and has gone five without a goal since his double against Villa last month.
When the stat was put to Howe in his pre-match press conference on Friday, the United boss admitted a slight injury could be the reason why the Swede’s impact has been more limited in recent matches.
“Sometimes stats can be a little bit misleading,” Howe said. “Look at his last performance against Milan and there was so much good from him.
“He linked play really well for us. But as a team we didn’t really click in the final third. That was pretty obvious.
“He has been feeling his knee slightly in the last few weeks and has had an ongoing knee issue that we have been trying to manage.
“I’m really pleased with him. He’s an outstanding talent. Yes, he will want to score but, as long as the team is performing well, that’s the main thing.”
Newcastle saw some success last season with Isak playing out wide on the left and Wilson leading the line. The pair played briefly together against AC Milan before Isak was withdrawn in the closing stages.
“We will always look at it,” Howe added when asked if he would be tempted to start the attacking duo together moving forward. “Alex did go to the left when Callum came on against Milan. Alex can play that position really well and sometimes it’s nice to rotate him in running during a game because he has that ability to drift left.
“If he’s gone quiet in a game for a period of time then it might spark him to life in another area. We will look at it, but we always have to pick what is best for the team, not the individuals.
“Sometimes you can put your best players into the team but the team doesn’t function as well. We love both players and will always try to make the best call for the team.”
Despite Isak’s recent scoring drought, the striker has still managed to score 12 goals in 25 Premier League appearances since his club record £63million move from Real Sociedad last summer.