The seven Alexander Isak questions Eddie Howe was asked after big Newcastle United win

It is now 19 Premier League goals and counting for golden boot-chasing Alexander Isak this season after Newcastle United’s exhilarating hitman bagged a brace in the 5-1 demolition of Sheffield United.

Speculation persists over whether the Magpies will be able to keep hold of talents such as Isak and Bruno Guimaraes beyond the summer as the Swede continues to go from strength to strength in a black and white shirt. With yet more fine finishes in front of goal, it’s no surprise that Eddie Howe‘s post-match press conference was dominated by questions about the Swede, his improvement and his long-term future on Tyneside.

The Newcastle boss took seven questions on Isak in total, expressing his familiar desire to keep the club’s record signing at St James’ Park this summer and long into the future. Here is everything Howe had to say on the 24-year-old forward immediately after Saturday’s big win.

READ MORE: Newcastle United 5-1 Sheffield United: Magpies go goal crazy and stay on road to Europe

READ MORE: Newcastle 5-1 Sheffield Utd player ratings: Isak takes man of the match and three others score high

Q) When you’ve got a finisher like Alex Isak in your team, you’ve always got a chance?

Howe: “[For the first goal] Great ball from Jacob [Murphy]. Very tight to being offside but that’s the beauty of the timing of his [Isak’s] run. High level finish and hugely important for us in a moment where we were struggling to get a foothold.

“It was great to see Alex link with Callum [Wilson] at the end too. Really good to see them passing to each other and having that synergy with each other.”

Q) Is he world class?

Howe: “I think he is. I’m not overly analysing every striker in world football, I’m focused very much on my team so I’m not the best person qualified to give that opinion but the big question is would I swap him with anyone else? No I wouldn’t.

“When you look at his age profile, what’s to come and look at his attributes and qualities, he’s some talent.”

Q) Is the message still: ‘He’s not for sale’

Howe: “It’s a shame for me and probably for Alex. I understand the question but that will be the main thing with the better he does and the more goals he scores.

“We should enjoy his performances and how he’s playing at the moment, full of confidence and physically in a really good place. It’s a great thing to watch him play.”

Q) Have you had a conversation with players like Isak about why they should stay?

Howe: “I don’t really want to address that week in, week out. But you want your players playing their best football consistently, showcasing their talent to the world. So it goes hand in hand unless you’re right at the top of the tree, which we aren’t at the moment.

“We have work to do as a club to maintain our drive, our ambition. It’s there. The players need to feel that as well to pledge their future to the club.”

Q) Is he a better player than when he arrived, and if so, what aspects have improved?

Howe: “Without a doubt for me, he’s a much better player. We signed a very, very good player. But I think naturally from playing in the Premier League, you improve a lot. The league is so demanding that physically it’s tough.

“Alex will probably admit that. You have to lead the line, especially with how we play and what we ask our players to do, it’s not easy. You can see the effort he has to put in week in, week out.

“But I just think his all round game has developed. The biggest thing is he’s confident in front of goal. He came to us scoring six goals in La Liga, so that confidence needed to come and it did. He’s probably in the best moment of his career. He looks in a really good place and I’m enjoying watching him play.”

Alexander Isak of Newcastle United celebrates scoring his team’s first goal with teammate Dan Burn

Q) What was it you liked about Alex when you scouted him?

Howe: “His technical ability was probably the first thing I saw. Very good movement for a No 9. When you’re looking for strikers, you can bracket your strikers into what type they are.

“With Alex it was very hard to do that because he can do a bit of everything. His physical qualities were very good, he was lightning quick, very agile. Add that with the technical qualities and you think ‘we’ve got a hell of a player here’.

“The one thing he needed to add from his last season in Spain was goals. Thankfully the team has helped him do that. But the challenge never stops for him. Now he needs to keep doing it, which at this level is very hard to do.”

Q) What type of character is he and how happy is he in the group?

Howe: “I think he’s really happy within the group. I’m speaking not knowing that 100 per cent because I’m speaking on his behalf but he looks happy.

“He interacts well with his team-mates, he’s got some very good friendships. He looks happy coming to training and he’s a very low maintenance guy. A quiet guy around the players but popular at the same time.”

View news Source: https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/seven-alexander-isak-questions-eddie-29073311

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