Callum Wilson was preferred to Alexander Isak to face AC Milan last night despite it being only the second game since he returned from injury.
With the injury crisis as bad as it is, Eddie Howe is having to manage player fitness like never before and with two injury-prone strikers on the books that's proving to be quite the juggling act for the Newcastle United gaffer.
Alexander Isak was the first of the two strikers to return from injury after a spell where both were unavailable to play. While it was a boost to get him back, he's not looked anything like the £63million goal machine we thought we had on our hands.
Isak has managed to find the net since his return but has looked way off the pace in every other regard.
Eddie Howe still used Isak in the Champions League defeat to AC Milan last night, bringing Anthony Gordon off the field and replacing him with the 24-year-old who operated down the left.
After the game, Howe spoke to Swedish outlet TV4 Play and confirmed what we've been suspecting for a while - Isak is not 100%.
“He has just come back from a serious injury.
“He doesn’t feel completely 100% at the moment. We are trying to keep him in shape.
“I thought he did well when he came in. But I don’t think he’s physically at his best, but hopefully he will be.”
Hopefully, now that Wilson is available, Howe can manage the duo's game time to build up their match sharpness instead of over-working them so that they never fully recover.
Especially as now, there's a question mark over the fitness of Anthony Gordon and Kieran Trippier. Both had to be withdrawn from action against Milan.
Gordon has a hamstring issue that needs to be assessed whereas Trippier was battered and bruised after a physical game.
Trippier will miss Saturday's visit of Fulham anyway due to suspension so he should have time to recover. Hopefully, Gordon's injury is nothing serious because we cannot be without him.
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