Joe Willock was away from Newcastle over the international break.
Joe Willock is stepping up his injury recovery as he attempts to force his way back into Eddie Howe’s midfield on Tyneside. The Newcastle United star, 24, was all but over a hamstring injury that kept him out at the business end of last season but has now suffered an Achilles issue to disrupt his rehabilitation.
Willock flew to Barcelona over the international break, working on his fitness as his co-stars jetted off around the globe and a select few stayed with Howe and his coaching team. Now, the race is on to get the former Arsenal man involved once more.
“He’s been away – he’s been in Spain I believe the last week, a change of environment for him, a change of focus for him,” Howe told reporters. “He’s been pretty good. There’s obviously been a bit of disappointment there, because he’s had a couple of setbacks.
“This injury’s an achilles injury, the one he sustained originally was a hamstring injury, and the achilles came out of nowhere. Disappointment for him – and he’s such a key player for us, so disappointment for us. But our aim is just to get him back as quickly as possible and back to his best form.”
Willock’s eventual return will see Howe’s midfield headache deepen as he tries to keep each of his options happy. So far this term it has been Sandro Tonali, Bruno Guimaraes and Joelinton who have been given the nod for each Premier League outing.
Sean Longstaff is poised to come in from the cold against Brentford this weekend, while Elliot Anderson continues to chip away for a start from the outset.