Gladiator Callum Wilson’s killer touch helped Newcastle to end their winless run and has left Eddie Howe with a selection dilemma over Alexander Isak ahead of AC Milan clash

new balance


  • Callum Wilson showed his importance to Newcastle with penalty v Brentford 
  • Eddie Howe now faces a tough decision over bringing Alexander Isak back

When confidence is low, it helps to have a player whose self-belief knows no limit. There is something of the gladiator about Callum Wilson. Here, he was Newcastle’s sword and shield.

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He led his team’s fight quite literally from the front on a day when perspiration was the superior of inspiration. But when it came to that moment of opportunity, one swoosh of Wilson’s right boot settled the duel.

His 64th-minute penalty — top corner, no less — was the difference between a first victory in over a month and the extension of a winless run that was starting to unnerve Eddie Howe. That is why he turned to the nerveless Wilson, deployed for his first start of the season.

The 31-year-old does not like the role of understudy. He is a leading man. A peacock. A showman.

On Saturday, it was his force of personality that dragged Newcastle across the line. His performance was befitting every stitch of the fabled No 9 jersey.

Callum Wilson scored from the penalty spot as Newcastle managed to overcome Brentford

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Callum Wilson scored from the penalty spot as Newcastle managed to overcome Brentford

Eddie Howe faces a dilemma over whether to restore Alexander Isak to the starting lineup

Eddie Howe faces a dilemma over whether to restore Alexander Isak to the starting lineup

Wilson has proven to be hugely important for Howe's side with his determination

Wilson has proven to be hugely important for Howe’s side with his determination

While Alexander Isak is a wonderfully talented and an elite-level striker, Wilson’s leadership and courage is what Newcastle needed to arrest a run of three straight defeats and this is why he was given a one-year contract extension last week. It does, though, leave the question of what to do next?

Howe had probably intended to recall Isak for Tuesday’s Champions League opener in Milan. But he cannot drop Wilson after this. For Newcastle remain far from their fluent best.

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In scoring his 41st Premier League goal for the Magpies, Wilson moved into the club’s top five in that competition. He has achieved that tally in 61 starts and is now only five goals away from taking second place behind Alan Shearer.

He would have to score another 100 goals over the next few seasons to beat Shearer’s total.

Wilson, no doubt, will believe he can.

new balance



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