Alexander Isak fitness update as Newcastle United weigh up £80m selection call v Borussia Dortmund

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Alexander Isak or Callum Wilson? It’s a Newcastle United selection call that doesn’t get any easier.

Eddie Howe once again faces the difficult decision of choosing between Alexander Isak or Callum Wilson to lead his Newcastle United attack in the Champions League tonight.

The Magpies host Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund at St James’ Park in their third Group F game and both Isak and Wilson have made a strong case to start in recent weeks.

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Isak, Newcastle’s top scorer this campaign with seven, scored twice in the 2-2 draw at West Ham United before the international break. A thigh injury forced the 23-year-old to withdraw from the Sweden squad, which meant he didn’t train in the build-up to Saturday’s 4-0 victory over Crystal Palace, although did appear as a 70th-minute substitute.

Newcastle United striker Alexander Isak.  (Photo by Tom Dulat/Getty Images)Newcastle United striker Alexander Isak.  (Photo by Tom Dulat/Getty Images)
Newcastle United striker Alexander Isak. (Photo by Tom Dulat/Getty Images) | Getty Images

In the same two-week break, Wilson, having just recovered from a minor hamstring issue, jetted off to Dubai for some warm-weather training and marked his return to the starting XI with a goal versus Palace.

In just three Premier League starts, Wilson has netted five times. He has the best goals-per-minute ratio in the division closely followed by... Isak. So, how does Howe quite possibly choose between the pair?

“I think the beauty of it is this year compared to last year with the amount of games we have,” Howe told NewcastleWorld. “Sometimes the decision is made for you. Both players are in different stages of their careers. With the amount of games, it’s really nice to pick and choose the opponents for the player.”

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Isak has started both of Newcastle’s opening two Champions League matches against AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain, which perhaps indicates the Swede will ultimately get the nod. And he may have extra fire in his belly too.

Isak was signed by Dortmund as a 17-year-old in 2017 but the move didn’t quite work out. After 13 appearances and a loan spell at Dutch side Willem, Isak was sold to Real Sociedad.

Three years later Newcastle came calling in a transfer worth £60million. Incredibly, since arriving on Tyneside, the forward has averaged almost a goal every two matches.

“That’s one for Alex to answer,” Howe said when asked if Isak feels he has a point to prove. “But for me, I’m really pleased with where he’s at. The West Ham game, his last start for us, I thought he was outstanding then he picked up a slight groin problem but I think he’s back to full fitness.

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“He’s trained really well in the build-up to this game so I’m delighted at where his career is at and where his performances have been for us. I’m sure Alex will want to do well because it’s our next game.”

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