Newcastle United have announced that they will be without midfielder Joe Willock until at least the first international break of the season as the player has suffered an unfortunate fitness issue.
The 23-year-old had discomfort in his hamstring following the injury he suffered at the end of last season. The player seems to have not yet recovered from the impact of the serious injury.
Willock was supposed to be back fit and ready for the start of the upcoming season and had begun training with the squad but as he came back to training, further complications with his hamstring emerged.
Newcastle manager Eddie Howe said: “He [Willock] has just felt a little bit of discomfort in his hamstring, not necessarily another pull to the area, just some discomfort, so we’ve had to lock him down again and he’s in the process now of building himself back up.”
Howe also acknowledged that the midfielder worked hard to get back fit over the summer break and also through pre-season but this extension of his previous injury will likely put him on the sidelines till at least mid-September.
Willock played a major role in Newcastle’s successful 2022/23 Premier League campaign wherein he played in all but one league game until his injury in May. He contributed with three goals and six assists in his 35 league appearances.
Even though the Englishman will be a miss, Howe will not be panicking as the Magpies have added Italian star Sandro Tonali to their midfield roster that already contains Sean Longstaff, Joelinton and Bruno Guimaraes. Many have also touted academy product Elliot Anderson to feature more regularly this season, which would naturally improve squad depth.
Some positive news for the Magpies is that defender Fabian Schar looks to have recovered from his hamstring injury suffered during his side’s pre-season campaign and is fit for the start of the season.
Squad depth is going to be important for the Northerners as they will be competing in the UEFA Champions League as well this season after a gap of 20 years. The wealthy owners have showcased their ambition as they look to provide the manager with all the tools he needs to be successful in all competitions.
They begin their Premier League campaign on August 12 against potentially their closest rivals this season, Aston Villa. Howe will no doubt be naming a strong starting-eleven and will be hoping to get off to a positive start.