Sun 28 Apr 2024, 11:30 · Ash Harrison

Eddie Howe says 'outstanding' 24-year-old Newcastle player has only got better since joining the club

Eddie Howe says 'outstanding' 24-year-old Newcastle player has only got better since joining the club
Getty Images
Share Tweet

Newcastle United have some top-class, you might even say world-class players on their books for the first time in years.

Bruno Guimaraes, Alexander Isak and potentially even Anthony Gordon, are way above the levels that Newcastle are used to having in their squad, at least in our recent history.

Not since Alan Shearer can we say we've truly had a world-class player on our books in their prime.

Eddie Howe admitted yesterday after Newcastle's 5-1 win over Sheffield United that we definitely have one player he'd call world-class in Alexander Isak.

2024 newcastle uniteds alexander isak 897143541 1
Scott Heppell/REUTERS
Alexander Isak has now scored more Premier League goals in one season than any other Swedish player

Eddie Howe wouldn't swap Alexander Isak for any other striker

In his post-match press conference, Howe told reporters that he wouldn't swap Isak for any other striker right now and that he feels his game has improved greatly since joining the club (via Yahoo! Sport)

“We signed a very, very good player, an outstanding individual, but I think just naturally from playing in the Premier League, you improve a lot.

“The league is so demanding. Physically, it’s tough and I think Alex would openly admit that. The league is tough for a striker – you’ve got to lead the line and especially with how we play and what we ask our players to do, it’s not easy.

“You can see the effort he has to put in week in, week out. But I have to say that his all-round game has developed lots of different facets that he didn’t have.

“The biggest thing, though, is that I think he’s confident in front of goal. You’ve got to remember he came from us having scored six goals in LaLiga. That confidence needed to come and it gradually did as he started scoring regularly.

“Now he’s probably in the best moment of his career, that would be my assessment. He looks in a really good place and I’m enjoying watching him play.”

The best is still yet to come from Isak

At just 24, there's still plenty of potential for Isak to get even better as he moves into his peak years, and if Newcastle can manage to keep hold of him until then we're going to see some amazing things from the Swede, who yesterday became the Swedish player with the most goals in a single Premier League season, knocking Zlatan Ibrahimovic off the top spot.

Our biggest challenge will be keeping him at the club. Howe touched on it a few times in his presser, that Newcastle must make the likes of Bruno and Isak believe that the club's ambition matches their own.

That will mean the Magpies have to be seen to be improving the squad and taking it to the next level, especially as right now there is a huge gulf in class between our top players and the rest of the squad. It's hardly even a gradient drop-off, it's like having two entirely different squads rolled into one.

Champions League qualification will be another big thing. Newcastle will miss out on Europe's elite competition next season, but we're likely to get a pass after such a difficult season, but if we fail to qualify again next season then it's going to be very hard to convince our top players to stick around.