‘Huge for us’ - Newcastle United star named in squad v Wolves — could start at Manchester United

Newcastle United midfielder Joe Willock. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)Newcastle United midfielder Joe Willock. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Newcastle United midfielder Joe Willock. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images) | Getty Images
The Newcastle United midfielder hasn’t feature in a Premier League matchday squad since May.

For the first time in five months, Newcastle United can name Joe Willock in a Premier League matchday squad.

The 24-year-old made his long-awaited comeback in Wednesday’s Champions League defeat to Borussia Dortmund as a 70th-minute substitute. It was Willock’s first appearance since May when he sustained a hamstring injury against Brighton before suffering a setback and a new Achilles injury.

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Willock is set to be named on the bench for Saturday evening’s trip to Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Newcastle United midfielder Joe Willock. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)Newcastle United midfielder Joe Willock. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Newcastle United midfielder Joe Willock. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images) | Getty Images

“It’s huge for us,” said Newcastle head coach Eddie Howe. “It’s been a long time, we’ve really missed him.

“Joe’s an infectious character, he’s very popular in the dressing room and the players really rate him highly as a footballer and a person. I think he’s got those mixes of technical quality and goalscoring ability and running capabilities that our midfield needs, especially with how we play so I think he’s really well suited to our style.

“It’s early stages for him but hopefully, he can stay fit and continue to progress and get his match sharpness back.”

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The United boss is set to resist the temptation to start Willock at Molineux but could turn to the midfielder for Wednesday’s Carabao Cup third round clash at Manchester United.

Howe wants to “choose the right moment to introduce” the former Arsenal midfielder back into the starting line-up but his hand could be forced sooner rather than later with Elliot Anderson ruled out for eight weeks, Sandro Tonali set to serve a 10-month ban from football and Bruno Guimaraes one yellow card away for suspension.

Newcastle are currently light in the attacking areas with Alexander Isak, Jacob Murphy and Harvey Barnes also missing.

“He hasn’t a huge body of training,” said Howe. He has trained and has trained for a period of time and he’s spent a lot of time with the sports science team and the physios. We haven’t rushed him back, we’ve taken our time with it and hopefully that shows.

“He’s a fit lad anyway and he’ll be desperate to play but I have to choose the right moment to introduce him to the team.”

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