EPL

Isak injury 'longer-term' but Howe hopeful of return before Boxing Day

By Sports Desk October 28, 2022

Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe is hopeful record-signing Alexander Isak will be fit for when the Premier League resumes after the World Cup despite his injury being "longer-term" than first thought.

Isak joined Newcastle from Real Sociedad in a deal potentially worth a reported £64.8million (€75m) in August, smashing the club's previous transfer record of just under £40m (€46.3m) for Joelinton.

Newcastle had been linked with numerous strikers throughout pre-season as they looked to build on Howe's positive start at St James' Park last season, although the newly minted club had been put off by valuations they felt were trying to take advantage of their new-found Saudi wealth.

With the season already a few weeks old, Newcastle eventually stumped up the cash for Isak, and he made a positive start with two goals in three games, but the 23-year-old suffered a thigh injury on international duty with Sweden in late September and has not played since.

Isak had already been ruled out until after the World Cup, and although Howe revealed on Friday the injury is more severe than initially thought, Newcastle expect him to be back in training in December when the club have a mini pre-season to prepare for the Premier League's Boxing Day return.

"Alex has been having a couple of injections into his thigh," Howe told reporters ahead of Saturday's visit of Aston Villa. "I believe that's gone well, and the medical team are happy where he currently stands.

"But it is a longer-term injury, a five- or six-week injury. As I've said before, he won't be back before the World Cup break.

"We're hopeful, as we begin our second pre-season, he is ready to train."

Newcastle's last pre-World Cup game is on November 12 at home to Chelsea, and they return to action just over six weeks later on December 26, away to Leicester City.

The club have already confirmed plans to visit Saudi Arabia for a training camp, as they did in January.

That trip will include a friendly against Saudi Pro League champions Al-Hilal, scheduled for December 8.

Related items

  • Old Trafford regeneration task force meet for first time Old Trafford regeneration task force meet for first time

    Manchester United’s regeneration task force charged with exploring the redevelopment of Old Trafford has met for the first time.

    Lord Coe, chair of a group that also includes Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, and former United captain Gary Neville, oversaw the meeting that took place on Monday.

    United co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe is looking to build a world-class stadium by either redeveloping Old Trafford or constructing a new ground on adjacent land owned by the Premier League club.

    “Yesterday, I chaired the first meeting of the Old Trafford regeneration task force to kick off a conversation about how development of a world-class football stadium for the north of England can deliver social and economic benefits for the region,” London 2012 chief Coe said on X.

    “At the London 2012 Olympics, I saw first-hand how sport can be a powerful driver of urban regeneration and I am excited to be part of this project.

    “This meeting marked the start of a multi-stakeholder process to explore options for the stadium and surrounding area. We are at the start of this journey, and it is too soon to know where it will lead.

    “But we will consult closely with fans and local residents along the way, and keep everyone informed of progress.”

    Ratcliffe has described the plans to build a new ground and regenerate the Old Trafford area as a “once-in-a-century opportunity”.

    With redevelopment of the existing site costing in the region of £1billion and building a new stadium altogether requiring a £2billion outlay, the task force will also examine options for financing the project.

  • I owe everything to him – Trent Alexander-Arnold grateful to Jurgen Klopp I owe everything to him – Trent Alexander-Arnold grateful to Jurgen Klopp

    Trent Alexander-Arnold says he owes everything to Jurgen Klopp and believes the Liverpool manager’s impending departure could feed into the title-race drama.

    Reigning champions Manchester City sit top of the Premier League pile with six matches remaining after second-placed Arsenal and the third-spotted Reds suffered shock defeats on Sunday.

    Liverpool’s 1-0 home loss to Crystal Palace compounded Thursday’s 3-0 Europa League quarter-final defeat at the hands of Atalanta in what could prove Klopp’s final European night at Anfield.

    Alexander-Arnold made his return from two months out with a knee injury in the Eagles encounter and expects more “twists and turns” as the popular German’s final season in charge comes to an end.

    “I think experience is a massive part of it,” the Liverpool academy product told The Overlap podcast.

    “Obviously the other two teams will have experience from last season. They had their own title race within themselves.”

    Asked if Klopp leaving and the emotion around gives Liverpool an edge in the run-in, Alexander-Arnold said: “I think he will feed into that, the further it goes.

    “Let’s say we get into May, the start of May, and it’s still that tight, then he’ll start to feed into how it’s going to look, how it could feel. Up until then, we just need to try and stay (composed).

    “He never says, ‘We’re trying to win the league, we’re going to win the league’.

    “He doesn’t really speak about it. It’s more, ‘We’re going to get the most out of ourselves, we’re going to squeeze every drop of potential’.

    “There will be twists and turns, no matter what.”

    Liverpool are hoping for an almighty change in fortunes at Atalanta on Thursday, when the second leg could see Alexander-Arnold make his first start since February 10.

    Every one of his appearances for his boyhood club have come under Klopp, to whom the homegrown star is eternally grateful.

    “Incredible, really,” Alexander-Arnold said. “I owe everything to him, really, as a player.

    “I was thinking about this recently. The only thing you can ever ask for as a young player is opportunity.

    “All you can do is hope that when you get to 18, 19, you’ve got a manager that’s willing to give you a chance and I was fortunate enough to have that.

    View this post on Instagram

    A post shared by Trent Alexander-Arnold (@trentarnold66)

    “Not only that, he put his arm round me and guided me through it, through the ups and downs, the winning of stuff, losing things.

    “Good games, bad games, because your first bad game you think you’re never going to kick a ball again. You think, ‘I’m done’.”

    Alexander-Arnold is expecting it to feel “weird” returning to pre-season without Klopp, although he likes the idea of a “new challenge” under an as yet undetermined new boss.

    The 25-year-old will likely return late to Liverpool given England are among the favourites for Euro 2024, at which Gareth Southgate has a midfield role in mind for him.

    Asked whether he sees himself as a midfielder or a right-back, Alexander-Arnold said: “I’d probably say I still see myself as a right-back.

    “I see myself as someone who can probably play in both positions if needed.

    “But I think my focus, until I’m told otherwise by the gaffer, is that I’m still a right-back.

    “I come inside and I play inside when we have the got ball, but essentially, when you write the team-sheet, I am a right-back.”

  • Golden Boot: Cole Palmer moves joint-top as England stars dominate top 10 Golden Boot: Cole Palmer moves joint-top as England stars dominate top 10

    Cole Palmer has joined Erling Haaland at the top of the Premier League goal-scorer’s chart after adding four more to his tally in Chelsea’s 6-0 thrashing of Everton.

    The Chelsea midfielder surged alongside Manchester City goal machine Haaland in the race for the Golden Boot, with both players currently on 20 in the top flight this season.

    Here, the PA news agency takes a look at the top six contenders for the award as the 2023-24 Premier League campaign enters the run-in.

    Golden Boot battle

    Cole Palmer (Chelsea) – 20 goals in 28 appearances

    The 21-year-old’s remarkable first season at Chelsea just keeps getting better. Palmer, who did not score a league goal for Manchester City, has notched 10 in his last five league matches, rocketing into Golden Boot contention.

    Erling Haaland (Man City) – 20 goals in 26 appearances

    Haaland set the Premier League ablaze in 2022-23, claiming a new record of 36 goals in a season. The 23-year-old started like a train again this season before missing five games with a foot injury. Since returning in January he has scored six in 11 appearances, underwhelming by his standards, but the Norway hit man remains a heavy favourite to retain the Golden Boot.

    Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa) – 19 goals in 32 appearances

    Watkins is enjoying his most prolific season in the top flight, already surpassing his 15 goals from last season, while also providing the most assists (10) of those on this list. The 28-year-old’s current goal conversion rate is better than Haaland’s and he will be hoping to feature for England at the Euros.

    Alexander Isak (Newcastle) – 17 goals in 24 appearances

    Isak has more than justified Newcastle’s outlay of around £60million after a thigh injury limited his impact in his first campaign at St James’ Park. The 24-year-old is the first Newcastle player since Alan Shearer in 2003-04 to score 20 goals in a season for the club in all competitions.

    Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) – 17 goals in 26 appearances

    Salah has won the Golden Boot on three occasions during his stellar Liverpool career and has scored 20 top-flight goals or more in four of his six previous seasons at the club. The Egypt forward is on course to make that five in seven.

    Dominic Solanke (Bournemouth) – 17 goals in 32 appearances

    When Solanke struck the opener in last weekend’s 2-2 draw at Manchester United he broke the record for the most Premier League goals scored in a single season by a Bournemouth player. The 26-year-old has produced his best form under Andoni Iraola and could force his way into England’s plans for the Euros.

    Southgate’s sharp-shooters

    Gareth Southgate must be filled with excitement when he looks at the top 10 scorers in the Premier League this season, with six England players on the list.

    Palmer only made his England debut in November but his astonishing form for Chelsea must surely earn him a spot in the squad for this summer’s Euro 2024.

    Watkins could find himself in a straight shoot-out with Ivan Toney for the spot as back-up striker to Bayern Munich’s Harry Kane, while Solanke has just one England cap to his name back in 2017.

    Further down the scoring charts, West Ham’s Jarrod Bowen has enjoyed a stellar campaign with 15 goals while Manchester City midfielder Phil Foden has netted 10 goals since Christmas to take his tally to 14 overall.

    Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka, a certain starter for England in Germany injury permitting, also has 14 goals to further add to England’s firepower.

    And when Kane’s 43 goals in all competitions for Bayern and Jude Bellingham’s 22 for Real Madrid are factored in, Southgate’s side are an exciting prospect.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.