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Matty Hewitt

Sweden boss backs up Eddie Howe's Alexander Isak fitness claim ahead of Newcastle return

Sweden's head coach Janne Andersson defended Newcastle United striker Alexander Isak and his fitness on international duty. Blågult narrowly missed out on a place at the Winter World Cup in Qatar following a late goal against Poland in their play-off game, but there were high hopes heading into the current qualifying campaign.

Isak made his return to the national set-up having missed nine months through injury. The Magpies' club record transfer picked up a thigh injury on international duty earlier this season which ruled him out for a large chunk of the campaign.

However, the 23-year-old is getting closer to full fitness and scored a brace in his last outing against Nottingham Forest - with only Erling Haaland boasting a better goals-per-minute ratio. Howe insists Isak is not ready to play 90 minutes in this current Newcastle setup and Andersson is also wary of the striker still trying to return to full fitness.

READ MORE: Newcastle warned Inter Milan hold trump card in race to sign Marcus Thuram

Speaking to Atfonbladet, Andersson said: “I think the expression failure [where Alexander Isak is concerned] is quite harsh to talk about based on how it was on Friday. If he played 20 matches in a row in the Premier League and did well, we could probably raise the demands on him.

“But where he comes from now, he is not one hundred percent match-wise. He has played two matches now where he has scored a great headed goal in one and a fantastic volley finish in the other.

“But overall, if you look at playing time backwards, we probably shouldn’t put that pressure on him right now. But I have high hopes that “Alex”, if he is whole and healthy, will be able to be a supporter in the national team.”


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