Newcastle United has already landed in Saudi Arabia for their mini warm-weather training camp. That’s great! Not so great: the reports coming out of Riyadh.
According to Craig Hope, writing for the Daily Mail on Tuesday, “Alexander Isak will miss Newcastle’s mid-season friendlies,” reportedly because he “continues recovery” from the tight injury he suffered all the way back in September when on duty with Sweden.
Newcastle has two friendly games scheduled against Al-Hilal on Thursday away from home and against Rayo Vallecano back at St James’ Park on Dec. 17.
The Magpies will then take on Bournemouth on Dec. 21 before getting things restarted on the Premier League front by facing Leicester on Boxing Day away from Newcastle.
Isak has missed all games played in the final two months before the World Cup break suffering constant setbacks and never properly recovering from his nagging thigh issues. That seems to still be the case, according to Hope reporting from Saudi Arabia.
“Isak is yet to train fully since [suffering the injury] and he did not take part with his teammates during Tuesday’s session,” wrote Hope.
While Newcastle’s coach Eddie Howe has been counting on having Isak ready more than a few weeks from now, that never came to happen. Isak was expected to be ready to face Saudi giants Al-Hilal but that won’t be the case, either.
“I don’t expect [Isak] to feature in the friendly games,” said Howe. “We’ll try and get him for Bournemouth or Leicester, but we’ll have to see how it goes,” he finished.
This is rather concerning for Newcastle, even more so considering the new owners spent a club-record fee of nearly €70M on the Sweden international. Isak has only played three Premier League games with Newcastle this season scoring two goals (including one penalty kick).
Howe said that “there’s no setback” in Isak’s recovery, conceding that “there was an initial setback when he re-injured his tight.” Howe also revealed that “as a consequence of that,” the main goal of the Magpies coaching and medical staff is to “make sure to get [Isak] fully fit.”
“He’s doing well. This was the plan. We didn’t expect him to train with the group when we first started training, so he’s with the sports scientist team and physios,” explained Howe.
Howe got into more detail, saying that Newcastle are “building him up in a controlled way” and that the staffers “expect him to be very close for Bournemouth or Leicester.”
That said, Howe also made it known that the coaches “are not sure if he’ll be fit or available for those games yet.”