Newcastle United manager Eddie Howe has admitted in his latest press conference that striker Alexander Isak is simply not ready to play 90 minutes on a regular basis.
Why isn’t Isak playing over Wilson?
The Swedish forward’s start to life on Tyneside has certainly been a tricky one with injury issues severely limiting his game time in a black and white shirt.
However, in the 465 minutes of Premier League action he has featured in, the 23-year-old has looked like a bright spark for the Magpies.
Despite this, it seems as if Howe is holding the forward back in his long-term rehabilitation from his injuries which have kept him out of the large majority of the campaign.
And speaking on his YouTube channel, journalist Lee Ryder shared his surprise from hearing the 45-year-old’s open admission on the fitness of the Swede:
“Probably the main line to emerge from today’s press conference was about Alexander Isak and the fact that Eddie Howe doesn’t believe he’s ready to play 90 minutes on a regular basis.
“Which probably surprised a few people given he’s had two months since he’s come back game against Sheffield Wednesday, where he was substituted at half-time in the FA Cup. Since then he’s had a mix of starting games and coming off or coming on as sub.
“And that’s coincided with a loss of form for Callum Wilson. So a lot of fans asking why Alexander Isak isn’t starting games, and the answer today was there for all to hear when Eddie Howe said he’s just not ready to play 90 minutes on a regular basis.”
Should Howe be playing Isak ahead of Wilson?
Ultimately, if Isak is still struggling fitness-wise on the back of the injury issues then it comes down to the manager’s decision of whether to take the risk in playing him.
However, it is apparent Callum Wilson’s struggles in front of goal are beginning to catch up with the Toon who have seen their form nosedive since the turn of the year.
Howe’s men are still well within the race for the top four spots with neither side above them in Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool looking overly convincing over the course of the season so far.
Shoud Isak start against Wolves?
But Newcastle’s form of late has to be a concern with draws seriously hindering their push for Champions League football ahead of next season.
In the Premier League, Newcastle have only been able to score more than one goal in a game on one occasion in their last 10 games and that came all the way back on Boxing Day.
And when it comes to their options up front, Isak has provided the Magpies with a goal every 155 minutes of action in the league, whereas, Wilson has offered the same return for every 175 minutes.
But it is worth noting that Isak’s season has been heavily disrupted through injury which has seen him make the starting XI on just five occasions.
In their previous outing against Manchester City, Ryder awarded Wilson with a mere 5/10 rating after the Englishman squandered a huge opportunity in front of goal.
The pair have tallied up fairly similar returns in their general game this season but it does feel as if Newcastle require a change in their attack and Isak has shown already he could provide Howe with that option.