Eddie Howe drops big Newcastle United hint on Alexander Isak
Howe – whose side haven’t scored for three league and cup games – must decide between Isak and Callum Wilson for Sunday’s home game against Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Wilson has started the club’s last two games, but the striker’s under pressure from club-record signing Isak, who has had a series of setbacks since returning from a long-term injury at the turn of the year.
"I’d say Alex is in a good place,” said United’s head coach. “It’s the most consistently he’s trained since he’s been with us. I’m not 100% sure on how many weeks that is, but certainly that rhythm and feeling is good.
"There was a week that he trained very, very well. He was excellent in everything he did, and I think he got concussion the week after, and that delayed his return to training for seven days.
"I think now he’s building back to those levels he was at. Very pleased with him. He's an outstanding player, an outstanding talent.”
Isak – who had several months out with a thigh injury after joining from Real Sociedad in a £60million deal last summer – came off the bench in last weeknd’s 2-0 defeat to Premier League champions Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium along with Joe Willock and Allan Saint-Maximin.
And Howe has addressed the “niggles” which have prevented them from starting more games this season.
“Joe Willock’s had a number of slight niggles, I’d say, that’s prevented him from training,” said Howe. “I think the Premier League is physically so difficult for players if you’re not at your optimum level.
"For me, I want to give players the best chance to perform at their best level. So I want players to enter the pitch in a really, really good physical condition, having done the training we feel they need.
"Joe’s not been in that situation. Alex, to the same degree, been in a similar boat, and Maxi has as well. It’s been a stop-start season for him.
"Part of our game plan was for the last game was for those guys to come on and try and win us the game.
"Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, but they all made a positive impact in the team.”