£20m Newcastle United star ruled out for 'several weeks' has 'slightly unclear' return date

Newcastle United are unsure when Callum Wilson will return from injury.
Newcastle United striker Callum Wilson. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)Newcastle United striker Callum Wilson. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
Newcastle United striker Callum Wilson. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Newcastle United boss Eddie Howe says it is 'slightly unclear' when Callum Wilson will return from injury.

The 31-year-old was forced off at half-time during the Magpies' 2-0 defeat to Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League because of a hamstring tightness.

Wilson missed the trip to his former club AFC Bournemouth a few days later and Howe said after the game he'd be out for "several weeks".

Newcastle United striker Callum Wilson. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)Newcastle United striker Callum Wilson. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
Newcastle United striker Callum Wilson. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Newcastle's 2022-23 campaign has been on pause for two weeks to make way for the two-week international break but return to action against Chelsea on Saturday.

Asked when Wilson is expected to return, Howe, speaking at his pre-match press conference, bluntly replied" "[It's] slightly unclear at the moment."

That may or may not suggest the England striker is sidelined for longer than initially anticipated.

In his absence, Alexander Isak will lead the line. The Swede has been out for a month with a thigh issue but is set to make a timely return against Chelsea.

But Howe is mindful of Isak's game time. Between now and the end of December, Newcastle play a staggering 10 matches.

"I don't think there's anything Alex [Isak] can do that Callum [Wilson] can't," said Howe when asked to compare the two strikes.

"They're different players but they've both got core characteristics that we look for - they're both quick, they both work hard in and out of possession, they both score goals and they're both usually in the right areas.

"Alex naturally wants to come slightly deeper and rotate positions more rather than being a fixed nine, and that movement gives us different options when he plays. But they're both outstanding number 9s and we need them both back fit. 

On Isak, Howe added: "Alex is a very focused individual. He's very calm. He rarely shows too many outward expressions of happiness, anger or disappointment. He's very consistent but he's fiercely determined to do well.

"He's not fazed when he does well or hasn't performed to his best level. But I see a real camaraderie between him and Callum so I think Alex will miss Callum, but we certainly back him as our striker for now."