Newcastle United manager Eddie Howe and star striker Callum Wilson had an interesting debate on the sideline at Craven Cottage around the 66th minute in yesterday’s game against Fulham. The debate will give Howe a good dilemma going forward.
Having missed five games since the thrilling 3-3 draw against Manchester City on August 21, Callum Wilson was eager to lead the Newcastle United front line against Fulham on Saturday. The veteran striker led the line with success as he scored early on to take his season tally to three goals.
With Newcastle United already leading Fulham by four goals in the 66th minute, the fourth official put up his board calling for Wilson to walk off and be replaced by Ryan Fraser. Wilson made way for the Scotland international, but was noticeably frustrated with the decision.
The Magpies’ number nine was greeted by Howe as he came off, but the striker questioned the manager’s decision. Wilson’s frustration with the substitution makes perfect sense, but so does Howe’s logic for pulling the striker out of the game.
Newcastle United need fighters on the pitch every week and Eddie Howe can find that fighting spirit in Callum Wilson.
It is clear why Wilson wanted to stay on the pitch. Saturday’s clash against Fulham was a goal fest, and Wilson wanted to add to his tally to continue solidifying his place in Howe’s team sheet and beef up his numbers for Gareth Southgate ahead of the 2022 World Cup tournament.
At the same time, however, Howe made the right call. Wilson missed the last five games (across all competitions) because of a hamstring injury, and there was no reason to risk another setback when three points were already in the bag.
Howe and Wilson have a strong bond that goes back a couple of years to their time together at Bournemouth. Howe clearly trusts the 30-year-old striker who has found the back of the net 23 times in 48 Premier League appearances for Newcastle United.
Howe has hinted that his plan is to play Wilson and record-signing Alexander Isak together, but it remains to be seen how that situation will unfold. Isak is also off to a great start on Tyneside with two goals in three appearances for the Toon, and the front office will certainly expect him to play a major role going forward as a star signing.