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Eddie Howe speaks out on whether Callum Wilson and Alexander Isak will start together against Leeds United
Posted by  badge Boss on May 13, 2023 - 02:47AM
Eddie Howe started Callum Wilson and Alexander Isak together against Arsenal last week (Picture: Getty / Sky Sports)

has confirmed he will consider repeating the experiment of starting both Alexander Isak and together against on Saturday.

The dynamic duo have played pivotal roles in firing Newcastle to the brink of qualification, but Howe has tended to rotate his two strikers, rather than pair them together.

Wilson and Isak both started against Arsenal last weekend, with the Sweden international operating in a wide role, with Wilson deployed in his customary No.9 position.

Although Newcastle failed to find a way past Aaron Ramsdale, who produced a superb display in the Gunners’ goal, the Newcastle boss hinted he saw potential in the 78 minutes the forwards were on the pitch together.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference, he said: ‘They were on the pitch together but they weren’t a partnership as such.

‘I saw enough from Alex, who played well I thought, to know he can play in that position and I know Callum in the number nine role is an outstanding player so it [playing both together] is something I’ll definitely consider.’

The Magpies have won eight of their last 10 games but are steeling themselves for a testing run-in which will see them face Brighton, Leicester and Chelsea, as well as struggling Leeds.

Newcastle were thwarted by Aaron Ramsdale during last week’s defeat against Arsenal (Picture: Getty)

With Liverpool in such resurgent form, a top four place is in serious jeopardy but Howe is preaching calmness ahead of a decisive period for his side.

‘It’s about calmness and not overreacting [to Sunday’s 2-0 defeat at home to Arsenal],’ said Howe.

‘But it is also about making sure players understand how different this game will be to others we have had recently. It will be more similar to the Everton game [which Newcastle won 4-1], I think.’

On the potential return of influential midfielder Sean Longstaff, he added: ‘He went to see a specialist. There were a few concerns that there was maybe some sort of structural damage in his foot.

‘There wasn’t, which was good news, but there is a bit of damage to one of the ligaments. He’s being re-scanned today, which we hope will show an improvement.

‘It’s slightly unclear when he’ll be back but it’s not a long-term issue at all. It’s whether we can get him back before the end of the season. We’ve missed him a lot.

‘I’ve always said this season he goes under the radar in terms of what he gives to the team tactically, technically and physically. He’s a high-level player and he’s got a really good football brain, so we’ve missed those qualities that he has. But, as always, you have to adapt when someone is missing and I believe we have the players to cover.’

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