Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe drops Callum Wilson hint

Callum Wilson’s not scored for Newcastle United since returning from World Cup duty.

Wilson, unusually for him, has gone eight league and cup games without a goal, with his last strike having come on October 29.

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The England international – who was sidelined by illness after the World Cup – has been one of the first names on Eddie Howe’s teamsheet, and started Saturday’s goalless draw against Crystal Palace.

Wilson, replaced by Alexander Isak for the last 21 minutes, is now preparing for tomorrow night’s Carabao Cup semi-final first-leg game away to Southampton, and Howe – who previously worked with him at Bournemouth – has hinted at what he believes has affected the striker’s “sharpness” ahead of the club’s visit to the St Mary’s Stadium.

Asked if he was worried about Wilson’s lack of goals, United’s head coach said: “Knowing Callum, no.

"He’s had very limited training time. He had an illness (after the World Cup). With Callum, he’s missed big chunks of training, and I think that always affects your sharpness as a player, regardless of position. Callum’s worked really hard for the team, and knowing him as I do the goals are just around the corner.”

Wilson scored three goals in United’s first four games this season, and netted three more before being named in England’s World Cup squad.

Newcastle United striker Callum Wilson arrives at Selhurst Park.

Wilson went to the tournament with Newcastle team-mates Kieran Trippier and Nick Pope.

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Pope had a quiet game at Selhurst Park, but the goalkeeper was there when his team needed him, the 30-year-old making a superb second-half stop to deny Jean-Philippe Mateta.

“There’s no doubt that Nick loved the World Cup experience,” said Howe. “I think that for any player, going behind the scenes and living those moments that you get from international football and the big tournaments, you learn so much from it. He came back full of determination to play again – and do well for us.

"I’ve got to say that his levels and performances right through this season have been of the highest quality. This save was probably one of the best I’ve seen him make, to be honest.

"He had nothing to do apart from that one moment. I think that’s the sign of a very good goalkeeper.”

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Pope joined Newcastle from Burnley last summer in a £10million deal.