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Aaron Stokes

Sweden's 'take charge' message to Alexander Isak that Eddie Howe can replicate at Newcastle United

Alexander Isak must step up and become a leader for Newcastle United, just as he is with Sweden, following his £58m summer move.

The 22-year-old has arrived for international duty with his country for the first time since becoming a Magpies player last month. Isak will be involved for the upcoming friendlies with Serbia and Slovenia and is expected to be handed a great deal of responsibility in the national setup.

Despite his age, Isak has been a regular for Sweden for over five years and is already one of the leaders in Janne Andersson's squad. The national team boss this week reminded key players, including Isak, of their responsibility on the international stage.

READ MORE: Sven Botman's Netherlands future now in doubt after bold Newcastle United decision

“When it comes to the leadership in the group, I hope – and we will talk about that now when we gather – to get more players who step forward and take charge,” Andersson told Fotboll Skanalen.

“For example, a player like Dejan Kulusevski. He has made 25-30 international matches. He made his debut in autumn 2018. Alexander Isak scored a goal in the national team in 2017, that’s five and a half years ago.

“It is clear that these are players who have already shown that they are prepared to take responsibility in our national team, and it is important that they do so now. Both have the personalities and play in leagues and teams where they gain many good experiences that you can take with you into the national team.”

There is no room for new boy Isak to hide at club level either, with Newcastle missing key players in attack following his £58m move in the summer. The forward has struck twice in three games thus far but has also looked isolated and quiet at times and hasn't grabbed games by the scruff of the neck at St James' Park this month.

The record fee can weigh heavy on players on Tyneside but Isak has no place to hide with Callum Wilson and Allan Saint-Maximin currently sidelined. His tender age can also be no excuse when it comes to being a dominant presence for his new club.

Eddie Howe admits Isak will take time to get up to speed in the Premier League but there will be a hope at Newcastle that the former Real Sociedad man can bring his national team experience and leadership qualities to the Magpies dressing room.

"He's learning. Not just how the team plays but also how the team-mates around him play," Howe said. "There were flashes form him today though I don't think we as a team did enough around him to get him into goalscoring positions.

"We didn't give him the ball early enough. I agree he was a little bit isolated. He didn't get involved enough in the key areas that he wants to. Let's look at the positives. He took his penalty brilliantly and he works hard for the team so he definitely contributed but we know we can involve him more."


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