Eddie Howe explains Dan Burn’s Newcastle United absence in Saudi Arabia – plus Alexander Isak injury update

Newcastle United defender Dan Burn didn’t travel with the rest of the squad to Saudi Arabia on Sunday.

Newcastle are currently in Riyadh for a warm weather training camp this week which will include a friendly match against Saudi Pro League champions Al-Hilal (5pm kick-off GMT). Head coach Eddie Howe has brought all available players plus several under-21s players as part of the squad, with the exception of Burn.

In addition to United’s five players currently playing at the World Cup in Qatar, Nick Pope, Kieran Trippier, Callum Wilson, Fabian Schar and Bruno Guimraraes, Burn didn’t travel to Saudi Arabia due to illness.

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Fortunately, the defender is expected to join up with the squad later this week having caught a later flight on Monday.

Dan Burn of Newcastle United runs with the ball during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Chelsea FC at St. James Park on November 12, 2022 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)

“I believe he's flying today,” Howe told NUFC TV. “He picked up an illness very late just before we were due to travel so unfortunately he was unable to travel with us but hopefully he'll join us in a day or two.”

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Monday also saw Newcastle’s record signing Alexander Isak return to training on the grass following an extended spell on the sidelines with a thigh injury. Several other players nursing injuries such as Paul Dummett (calf) and Emil Krafth (ACL) have also made the journey but have been limited to gym work.

“They're doing well,” Howe added. “There's a really nice gym that looks out over the training pitch here and we've seen all our injured players in there working extremely hard.

"Alex is just on the pitch here running and doing very well. We're very determined to try and keep the group together and all the players who have injuries, to bring them and make them closer to the group and really feel part of the team.

"Alex hasn't been with us long and this is his first time to really bond with the squad so we're delighted with how his rehab is going.”

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Following this week’s friendly match against Al-Hilal, Newcastle will play one more friendly match against La Liga side Rayo Vallecano on December 17 (12:30pm kick-off) at St James’s Park before returning to competitive action against AFC Bournemouth in the Carabao Cup on December 21 (7:45pm kick-off).