Newcastle United injury crisis could hand first-team chance to 19-year-old, Howe’s called him up before – opinion
Newcastle United have found goals harder to come by than they would have liked this season.
Eddie Howe’s side have managed just eight league goals in their first seven matches.
Newcastle’s defence has been solid, earning them five draws so far.
However, they’ve failed to put several games to bed where they’ve dominated proceedings.
Scoring goals could be about to become even more difficult, after the international break took its toll on Newcastle’s strikers.
Newcastle’s forward injury list
Callum Wilson had already missed four matches with a hamstring issue.
His previous injury record will make Howe cautious to throw him into the action unless he’s 100% ready.
He’s yet to play with Allan Saint-Maximin, who has also been struggling with a knock.
Howe confirmed that it’s ‘not clear’ if the Frenchman will be fit for the trip to newly promoted Fulham either.
Newcastle’s only other senior centre-forward is Chris Wood.
However, he too looks set to return from international duty with an injury issue, lasting just 30 minutes for New Zealand before being forced off.
Eddie Howe may therefore be forced to hand youngster Dylan Stephenson a chance in the first team next weekend.
Stephenson could get first team chance
In the absence of his first-choice strikers, Howe has a few possible options.
He could give Joelinton another opportunity as a centre-forward, although he’s clearly much more effective playing in midfield.
None of Newcastle’s wide options stand out as potential strikers.
Howe could therefore look to the under-21s to fill the role.
The top scorer in that squad this season is Dylan Stephenson.
The 19-year-old has previously been called up to train with the first team by Eddie Howe.
Steve Bruce also gave him a chance in first-team training, and that vote of confidence from both managers bodes well for Stephenson.
By his own admission, he had a ‘great season’ last year, scoring 15 goals in all competitions for Newcastle’s youth teams.
He’s managed three goals this season for Newcastle’s under-21s, outscoring all of his teammates.
It’s a massive step up to play in the first team, especially with no loan experience to speak of.
Callum Wilson is the most likely striker to be fit to start judging by his previous comments.
However, Stephenson could be given a chance in the first team on the bench if Howe wants back-up.
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