EPL

Eddie Howe eager to hold onto Alexander Isak’s ‘limitless potential’

By Sports Desk April 03, 2024

Newcastle boss Eddie Howe is determined to keep hold of the “limitless potential” of in-form striker Alexander Isak.

The 24-year-old Sweden international scored his 19th goal of the season and his eighth in nine Premier League outings in Tuesday night’s 1-1 draw with Everton hours after headlines suggested North London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham are ready to battle it out for his signature this summer.

However, the Magpies’ head coach is determined to hang on to his £63million record signing, who arrived on Tyneside during the summer of 2022 after learning his trade at AIK Solna, Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund and Real Sociedad in Spain.

Asked about Isak, Howe said: “For me, Alex has limitless potential.

“You’ve got someone who has had really good experiences in his career. He’s travelled as a young player and had some experience of different leagues.

“He’s come to us at a really good time of his career where we can help him, develop his talents and give him a platform to show how good he is.

“At the moment, he’s building in confidence all the time. He’s a high-level player and we’re delighted to have him with us.”

Newcastle’s challenges in complying with spending rules, which prompted chief executive Darren Eales to admit earlier this season that they may have to trade players to recruit, has led to speculation that some of the club’s biggest names could be sold.

However, asked about Isak’s future, Howe said: “You have to try to keep your best players. Whether you’re able to do that continually with the rules that are in place at the moment, that’s always unsure.

“I’m not in control of that, but from my perspective, to be the team that we want to be, we have to keep our best players and keep improving.”

Isak’s latest contribution to the black and white cause looked to have secured another three points until substitute Paul Dummett wrestled Ashley Young to the ground to hand Dominic Calvert-Lewin the chance to level from the penalty spot, which he did with two minutes remaining.

The England striker had been thrown on along with Andres Gomes and James Garner with 61 minutes gone with the visitors’ bench significantly stronger than that available to Howe, who confirmed Tino Livramento and Miguel Almiron will both be sidelined by injury for around a month.

Opposite number Sean Dyche was delighted with the impact of his substitutes on a night when Everton’s run without a Premier League win was extended to a club record 13 games.

He said: “It’s a squad mentality. We’ve been trying to build that at the club since I’ve come along really. I reminded them of that and how important it is. ‘Be the person who makes the difference’ is what I always say to them, and it rubs off.

“Second-half particularly, it looked like everyone was making a difference and that’s the feeling we’ve got to maintain. We’ve got to keep on with that and find that consistency to keep taking these games on and the wins will come.”

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