Premier League. Howe reveals Willock could miss Tottenham clash

12 Apr 24

Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe admitted Joe Willock could be unavailable for Saturday's Premier League visit of Tottenham Hotspur (kick-off 12.30pm BST).

After securing victories against West Ham United and Fulham in recent weeks, the Magpies will be hopeful of recording maximum points against another London-based club in Tottenham, who currently occupy fourth spot in their hunt for Champions League qualification.

Howe expressed his delight in Joelinton committing his long-term future to United after the Brazilian midfielder signed a new contract on Thursday but also addressed the club's long list of injury absentees, with Willock forced off during last weekend's 1-0 win at Craven Cottage.

Here are some of the boss' main talking points from Friday's pre-match media briefing at the Magpies' Training Centre in Benton...

On Joelinton, who penned a new long-term deal with the Magpies on Thursday:

"Amazing news for all of us and such an important player. It wasn't straightforward but great that he sees his future here and I think it's a big boost.

"It's a big contract for him. He's at an age where it's a pivotal moment in his career and he's never doubted his love for Newcastle or his want to stay but, of course, everything has to be right.

"He is very popular internally. Everyone looks at Joe as a winner with how he trains. He has that mentality that he's not here to waste time. He's here to achieve, is very ambitious and you want players like that in your changing room.

"He has a brilliant bond with the supporters as well, and hopefully that is a big lift for everyone."

On Willock, who was withdrawn during the first-half of United's 1-0 win against Fulham last weekend:

"Joe has been to see another specialist to check on the progress of his achilles which has been problematic for him. It's been a difficult injury because it's not been straightforward and he's had a few complications through the process of him returning back to full fitness.

"His feedback was positive, generally, in the respect that the achilles is healing and doing well but it will fluctuate from time to time. It will have moments where it's not feeling so good.

"For Tottenham, I probably think he won't be available for us. There's a chance he will then be available throughout the rest of the season but that's slightly unclear. We need to make sure the long-term prognosis for him is positive and that might mean a short period of rest.

"I've really felt for Joe since that hamstring injury against Brighton at the back end of last season. It's been very stop-start for him and incredibly difficult for him to get a rhythm in his game where he feels really good.

"I've had lots of conversations and meetings with him to try and support him, showing how much we all care about him and how determined we are to try and get him back to his very best physically."

On team news ahead of tomorrow's league encounter against Postecoglou's Spurs, including Lewis Hall:

"The closest player to coming back would be Tino Livramento, who has not trained with the team yet but has been more visible on the grass.

"Lewis Hall has not trained at all this week after a tightness in his quadricep, so he has been a slight concern from the previous game. Other players are doing well in the background and improve quite quickly so I am hoping in the not-too-distant future we could get three or four players back."

On last weekend's 1-0 victory at Fulham:

"It was a big result. It wasn’t a great performance from us, especially early on in the game, but we were dogged and determined. We rode an initial period where we were unhappy with how we played but we haven't done that enough away from home this season.

"Usually, when we're below par, we've found a way to concede and it's been difficult for us on the road but I thought it was a big step forward in not playing too well but, quite reminiscent of last season with lots of games where we weren't in our best rhythm, we were solid. didn't concede and found a way to score and win the game.

On last season's Premier League clash against Spurs at St. James' Park, which saw the Magpies score five times, without reply, in the opening 21 minutes of a 6-1 victory:

"That was a special game for us because everything clicked. We were devastating in attack, ruthless with the chances we took and it was one of those days you get rarely in football that everything went our way.

"We were confident, there was a really good rhythm about the team and our finishing that day was lethal. You're working towards days like that again and always trying to find that connection between the players that makes a performance like that.

"It was a memorable game and opening part of the match but this is a totally different Tottenham now. They've played very well this year and I admire them tactically and physically.

"Ange deserves big credit for how his philosophy has been implemented and the speed that it has."

Related Content