Newcastle United tease injury comeback for 19-capped international - massive boost for Eddie Howe

St James' Park, Newcastle United (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images)St James' Park, Newcastle United (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images)
St James' Park, Newcastle United (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images) | AFP via Getty Images
Joe Willock played just nine times in an injury-ravaged campaign for Newcastle United last season

Newcastle United have dropped a huge hint that Joe Willock will be fit for the start of the Premier League campaign.

A string of injuries saw the midfielder make just nine top-flight appearances last season. Willock’s recurring Achilles problem was the main issue, with the 24-year-old last featuring in April’s 1-0 win at Fulham.

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Midfield proved Eddie Howe’s biggest conundrum throughout 2023-24 - with Bruno Guimaraes and Sean Longstaff heavily relied upon. Joelinton also endured his fitness struggles while Sandro Tonali was sidelined through suspension.

Elliot Anderson’s exit to Nottingham Forest means Willock - who represented England 19 times at youth level - would be a welcome return for Howe. The Toon boss revealed in April that the former Arsenal man was set to remain on the treatment table with next season in mind.

“No, we don’t think so (whether Willock would play towards the back end of last season),” Howe said. “With Joe, we all have decided, (with) the medical team, that a period where he strengthens the area around his Achilles would benefit him more.

“So he went to see a specialist, and they said, ‘Look, you’ve got a couple of options here’. He could have carried on playing but I think the longer-term view was taken, ‘Let’s get him right for next season’, so that’s what everyone is working towards.”

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The club’s official media channel hinted at a full recovery by posting a picture of Willock. Fans were left guessing at the caption, which read “We are BACK”, showing an image of the midfielder in good spirits.

Newcastle are set to undergo pre-season training in Germany before trips to Hull City and Japan. Anthony Gordon and Kieran Trippier remain on international duty, with England set to take on Spain in this weekend’s Euro 2024 final.

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