Eddie Howe is ready to bank on Callum Wilson’s fitness this season, counting on the forward’s 20 goals despite his injury woes after long-term transfer target Hugo Ekitike signed for PSG
- Newcastle manager Eddie Howe is willing to take a risk and rely on Callum Wilson
- Wilson has struggled with injuries throughout his career, including last year
- The 30-year-old missed five months of 2021/22 with an Achilles problem
- Newcastle missed key transfer target Huge Ekitike who has joined PSG
Eddie Howe is ready to bet on Callum Wilson’s fitness as Newcastle’s main forward this season after missing top target Hugo Ekitike.
The French forward, 20, has joined Paris St Germain loaned with option to buy. The Magpies had agreed a deal worth around £25million with Reims only for the move to falter last month due to excessive demands from the players agent.
But with Ekitik away and Chelsea Striker Armando Broja touched down west hamThe bulk of Newcastle’s budget is likely to be spent on a winger – although Jack Harrison is from leeds and Leverkusen’s Moussa Diaby are proving too expensive.
Newcastle manager Eddie Howe is ready to rely on Callum Wilson for goals this season
Wilson has scored 20 goals for Newcastle in two years but has an inconsistent fitness record
It means that despite apparent doubts about the 30-year-old’s fitness record, Wilson will almost certainly go into the campaign as Howe’s central forward.
After suffering a calf and Achilles tendon injury in December, he only returned to the final three games of last season while absent from the team’s intense work on Sunday’s training session here in Austria.
However, Howe believes Wilson can shoulder the load and return the 15-20 goals expected this season.
“Nobody has ever doubted Callum’s ability,” said the head coach of the team hotel in Saalfelden. “He’s an outstanding striker and he showed that when he came back from a long injury and performed well at the end of the season. I would wish him an injury-free season.
“We’re certainly looking (15 to 20 goals) from our No 9 – whether it’s Callum alone or with Chris Wood. We need those goals from our front players. We believe they are capable of delivering those numbers.’
Wilson missed a large chunk of last season with an Achilles issue that was picked up in December
Wilson was on Newcastle’s pre-season tour but missed part of Sunday’s practice session
Speaking of Wilson’s absence from training, Howe said: “Every day when we plan training we take individual needs into account. We took Callum and gave him some other work from the group. This was quite an intense exercise early in the session and we didn’t want to expose him to it.
Howe, meanwhile, believes PSG stealing Ekitike from under their nose shows the level of player Newcastle are now aiming for.
“We really like Hugo as a player, there’s no denying that,” he said. “We tried to re-sign him in January and this summer but it wasn’t to be. He decided to go to PSG and there are no negative feelings towards the boy. We wish him all the best.
“We thought he was a real talent and he could have done a really good job for us. But this is football, this is the transfer window. They are the teams we compete against.
“There is no guarantee that you will achieve your top targets because if you think they are that good then other clubs will too.”