‘It’s on us’ – Eddie Howe takes responsibility for Newcastle United’s double injury setback
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Joelinton, Bruno Guimaraes and Callum Wilson have all recovered from recent injury issues while Jonjo Shelvey is also nearing a return having failed to feature so far this season due to a hamstring problem.
Right-back Emil Krafth is a long-term absentee after rupturing his ACL at Tranmere Rovers in August.
Injuries, unfortunately, happen to players, but the recurring injuries and extended spells on the sidelines is something Howe is keen to address after a double setback last week.
Both Allan Saint-Maximin and Alexander Isak were understood to be close to returning from their respective hamstring and thigh injuries only to break down in training. Now, Saint-Maximin is looking to get back involved before the World Cup break next month while Isak won’t return until after Christmas.
Newcastle have made a solid start to the Premier League season with just one defeat from their opening 10 games. But an argument could be made that Howe is still yet to field a full strength side this season due to the injury issues.
“I think [the injuries] have definitely had an impact but I'm not going to sit here and use them as excuses,” Howe said. “It's the reality of a Premier League season like no other where you've got condensed games, testing times, a lot of international football on players' minds as well.
"It's a totally different mix to any other season that I've known and I think you're seeing around the Premier League probably more injuries than ever at lots of different clubs.
“It's concerning really because we want to protect our players and keep them fit and well but the Premier League, and we're probably a cause of that, is getting quicker and quicker, the intensity is so great that players are breaking around the country so it's our job to try and keep that to a minimum.”
Howe also suggested that the club need to be managing existing injuries better following Saint-Maximin and Isak’s setbacks.
“Touch wood, we haven't had any fresh injuries for a while but our problem is that we have recurring injuries which is a double hammer blow for us,” he added.
"You're always going to get fresh injuries but if you don't get your injuries back that you've had, the situation becomes difficult so that's on us really. It's on us as a medical team, a sports science team to make sure it doesn't happen.”
The Newcastle boss played down the suggestion that the training ground injuries and setbacks have come as a result of a more intense approach behind the scenes.
“Personally, I don’t think so,” he continued. “It’s natural that you will get injuries. It’s our job to get those players back onto the pitch in a safe, controlled way.
"But the re-injuries, that’s a complete no-no for us. That is something we need to learn from and make sure it doesn’t happen again.
"If you’re not getting your players back when they’ve been injured before, suddenly you have a very difficult situation. It’s our job to get those players back on the pitch.”