Eddie Howe has confirmed Joe Willock’s injury is not thought to be as serious as first feared.
What’s the latest Newcastle United news?
While the Newcastle United midfielder is a doubt for Saturday’s Premier League meeting with Liverpool, fears that he could miss the Carabao Cup final later this month appear to have been allayed somewhat.
Willock was forced off in the first-half during last week’s draw at Bournemouth and the Telegraph later claimed the 23-year-old was facing a race against time to make the trip to Wembley.
Howe, however, hinted during Friday night’s pre-match press conference that a scan on the former Arsenal youngster’s hamstring showed the injury was not as serious as first feared.
What has Howe said about Willock?
Speaking to reporters, Howe said (via BBC Sport): “Joe [Willock] was the big concern and after a scan we got some good news that it’s not serious.”
How big a boost is this for Newcastle?
Willock has started all but three games this season and forms a major part of the starting set-up under Howe. With Bruno Guimaraes available for the showpiece event, also having fit Willock would ensure Howe has his first-choice midfield for Newcastle’s biggest game in years.
FBREF data notes Willock ranks within the top five in Howe’s squad for tackles (35), progressive carries (71), carries into the opposition penalty area (21) and successful take-ons (14) this season. That kind of all-action presence will be crucial in the final, particularly against a Manchester United midfield boasting the class of Casemiro.
Short on bodies in that area as it is, Willock likely being available is a huge boost ahead of such a huge game.