MANCHESTER: Eddie Howe has confirmed that two of his Newcastle United midfielders’ seasons have come to an end due to injury.
Speaking after the Magpies suffered a humbling 5-0 loss to Manchester City at the Etihad, Howe revealed that absentee duo Joe Willock and Jonjo Shelvey will miss the Magpies’ final two Premier League games of the campaign.
The pair were replaced by Chris Wood and Sean Longstaff in a United side beaten thanks to a Raheem Sterling double and strikes from Phil Foden, Rodri and Aymeric Laporte.
Explaining the absence of Willock and Shelvey, Howe said: “Joe has had a knee problem for a couple of months. We felt it was gone but it came back against Liverpool last week, so it looks like his season is over.
“Jonjo has a calf injury, which is quite similar to the one he had at the start of this season, so it looks like both players are out for the season.”
While Howe has lost two key first-team players for the matches at home to Arsenal next week and Burnley away on the final day, the Manchester mauling did see Kieran Trippier and Callum Wilson make their first appearances since February and December respectively.
And while neither were fit enough to start the encounter, both got 21 minutes plus added time ahead of potential starts against the Gunners in eight days’ time.
“They showed that they can give us when they came on,” Howe said.
“Kieran immediately put two or three brilliant crosses into the box, real quality from the wide areas and Callum had his one-v-one and his chance from Maxi’s cross. He looked bright as well.
“They actually contributed to probably our best spell in the game immediately when they came onto the pitch. Massive boost for everyone connected to Newcastle to see them back.
“They are two huge players for us and we have missed them, albeit the players in their absence stepped up fantastically well and I have to compliment the full squad in that. Yeah, great to have them both back.”
The five-goal defeat ensured a 9-0 aggregate score against the Citizens in 2021/22 — and another sorry tale in this fixture for the Magpies.
Howe said: “Whenever you come here you know you are going to concede chances, you just hope they have an off day when it comes to their finishing.
“You hope you will get chances the other way and unfortunately we have not taken them. So it is a mix of things that has gone against us.
“We had the first big chance in the game, we didn’t take it and the scoreline looks harsh, but Manchester City will probably have a different view on it.”