Newcastle United have been handed a big boost ahead of next week’s Carabao Cup final with Joe Willock’s injury not believed to be as serious as initially feared.
How bad is Joe Willock’s injury?
In Newcastle’s last Premier League game against Bournemouth, Willock was withdrawn from the action early on with a suspected hamstring issue.
This came ahead of the game against Liverpool this weekend and more importantly next weekend’s League Cup final which will provide the Toon with an opportunity to end their trophy drought.
However, it does seem as if the Magpies may have been handed with an injury boost ahead of the game against Manchester United next week.
Indeed, speaking on his YouTube channel, journalist Lee Ryder has claimed there is growing confidence that – although he will miss Saturday’s game – Willock could return for the final:
(0:30) “The big news to emerge from this morning’s [Friday] press conference for me was probably Joe Willock the injury that he sustained at Bournemouth isn’t as bad as first feared.
“He’s had a scan. Yes. Looks probably like he’s gonna miss the Liverpool game, won’t be risked but the good news is he’s got a chance to feature at Wembley in the Carabao Cup final. So good news for Joe Willock, good news for Newcastle.”
Could Sean Longstaff be dropped for the final?
If Willock is to return in time for the final, it will provide Howe with a welcomed selection headache in the middle of the park after some recent issues.
Bruno Guimaraes’ suspension alongside injury issues and Jonjo Shelvey’s exit has meant the Newcastle boss has seen his options in midfield restricted in recent weeks.
However, for the final, he will have the Brazilian back in the mix and it seems as if Willock could enter the fold.
But it will be interesting to see who will get the nod at Wembley Stadium with a rested Guimaraes surely set to return to the starting XI having made such an impact on Tyneside.
And the likes of Sean Lonstaff have shown their worth in recent months with the Newcastle-born midfielder playing a huge role in their semi-final win over Southampton.
Having scored two goals in the game against the Saints at St. James’ Park, it would feel incredibly harsh if Howe was to drop Longstaff for Willock.
And on the back of their seasons so far, there is evidence for Longstaff deserving the spot in the midfield over Willock given he has provided an extra goal and assist this season across all competitions.
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