Former Liverpool defender Stephen Warnock believes Alexander Isak is ‘an upgrade’ on Newcastle United team-mate Callum Wilson.
Despite enduring a frustrating time with injuries since making a club record £63m move from Real Sociedad earlier this season, the Swedish international has shown real signs of adjusting to life in the Premier League in recent weeks.
Handed only his sixth league start in last weekend’s home clash with Wolverhampton Wanderers, Isak scored an outstanding header to give Eddie Howe’s side a first-half lead and put in a lively display that helped his side claim a hard-earned three points.
The 23-year-old retained his place in the starting eleven for Friday night’s visit to Nottingham Forest and he repaid Howe’s faith with another fine display leading the line and two goals that handed a further boost to United’s hopes of securing a top four place this season.
Isak now seems to be edging his way towards becoming the Magpies first-choice striker and could Wilson to watch on from the sidelines as the England striker continues to try and find fitness and form after struggling to achieve either since returning from the World Cup Finals in December.
Sky Sports pundit Warnock has praised Isak’s impact in recent weeks and revealed he would rather face Wilson as a defender because the Sweden striker has ‘more to his game’ than the former Bournemouth star.
“I think what was interesting was his goal return wasn’t great before he joined the club from Real Sociedad,” he told Sky Sports.
“So everyone thought what are we spending this money on and what type of player is he? I was at his first game at Anfield when he played against Liverpool and he terrorised Liverpool. He scored a second goal when he sat Joe Gomez down but it got ruled out for offside.
“Straightaway, you could see this player’s got something, he’s dangerous, he’s quick, I love how inventive he is with his feet, the little skills in and around the box, the movement of the ball. He’s a clever player and you are looking now thinking you can understand why they paid around £60m for him but he is an upgrade on Callum Wilson.
“I really think that. If I was a defender, I’d rather play against Callum Wilson than him. Callum Wilson has the knack of knowing where the ball is going to fall, the anticipation in the box, but he (Isak) has something different. He runs you in the channel, he’s athletic, he’s great in the air, there’s more to his game and he looks a really good player.”
Isak will hope to take his form into the international scene as the Magpies striker has now linked up with Sweden for their upcoming Euro 2024 qualifiers with Belgium and Azerbaijan.