Former Newcastle winger John Barnes discusses the team’s final stretch of the season

With the international break winding down, preparations for the final part of the domestic season will soon begin. Newcastle will turn their attention to their big clash against Manchester United at St James’ Park this Sunday, as they compete for a spot in the top four. Former Newcastle winger John Barnes sat down with us to discuss the team’s final stretch of the season.

Callum Wilson vs Alexander Isak 

Newcastle United has had quite the season, currently sitting in fifth place with two games in hand on fourth-placed Tottenham. The upcoming game against Manchester United, who are in third place, could have huge ramifications on the fight for fourth, as there is only a three-point gap between fifth and third.

The return of Swedish forward Alexander Isak comes at a perfect time for Newcastle, as fellow striker Callum Wilson’s goals have dried up. Goals have generally been an issue for much of the season, and Isak’s return should be a much-needed boost. Barnes, however, is pleased with Wilson’s contribution to the team, highlighting the work he does off the ball for Eddie Howe’s side.

“Wilson struggling in front of goal is synonymous with that fact Newcastle have struggled in front of goal.” 

“It’s great that Newcastle have now gotten back to winning ways.”

“Callum Wilson was never going to be a goalscorer that scored 35-40 goals in a season.” 

“What Callum Wilson brings is goals alongside his hard work and bringing people into play and it’s good enough for what Newcastle currently want.” 

“Look at where Newcastle are with Callum Wilson in the team. They’re fine.” 

“If Callum Wilson was to score 35-40 goals a season, alongside the hard work and bringing players into play he would be at Real Madrid.”

“He may not score as many goals as people would but he’s good enough for what Newcastle need.”

The return of Alexander Isak 

Barnes believes Isak is a good player, and he is a fan of the Swede, who has scored six goals in 10 league appearances. Isak’s recent return against Nottingham Forest helped Newcastle close the gap on nearest rivals Tottenham. Eddie Howe now faces the conundrum of choosing between Wilson and Isak or pairing the two together, depending on how Newcastle wants to play.

Alexander Isak of Newcastle United during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Crystal Palace at St. James Park on September 3, 2022. Picture IMAGO / Sebastian Frej

“Isak is a good player and so is Callum Wilson. I saw Isak when he was playing in Spain and I think he’s a good player.” 

“He’s big, he’s strong, he’s quick and once again it depends on how Newcastle want to play.” 

“I don’t think Newcastle will play both Wilson and Isak but the more players they can have fit the better.”

Scott McTom the Magpie? 

Newcastle will be seeking to reinforce their squad this summer as the club looks to continue the progress made under Eddie Howe since his appointment. Manchester United midfielder Scott McTominay has been heavily linked with a move away from Old Trafford as ten Hag seeks to continue his makeover of the squad he inherited. Barnes says he would be surprised if Manchester United sold McTominay, but claims the Scot would be a good addition to the Newcastle side. 

“I think McTominay would be a good fit for Newcastle.”

“He’s a good, strong central defensive midfielder. He’s young and British so he has an understanding of the Premier League.” 

“That’s if ten Hag is actually looking to move him on. It’s obviously speculation and I don’t see why ten Hag would want to move McTominay on as he’s young and British.” 

“He’s a great addition for the Manchester United squad so I would be surprised by that.”

“But McTominay would be a good signing for Newcastle.”