Howe hails behind-the-scenes star, issues Isak challenge and backs Mag to earn England call

Speaking to the media this morning, Eddie Howe has hailed Toon trio Jacob Murphy, Joe Willock and Alexander Isak ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Nottingham Forest.

The boss revealed how impressed he’s been by Murphy behind the scenes, talking up his “positive energy” and meticulous approach to training, explaining how hard he works in a bid to “elevate his game to another level.”

Howe believes the winger was “excellent” in last week’s 2-1 win and has also spoken highly of Joe Willock; who was many people’s man of the match against Wolves.

His quality, energy and character has been praised by Howe, with the manager believing an England call-up is “there for him” if he build on his potential and add more goals and assists to his game.

On Alexander Isak, Howe was full of praise for the Swede’s superb all round display on Sunday, explaining how our club record signing is “different” to anyone else in the squad and can “do a bit of everything.”

Ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Forest, the gaffer has challenged the striker to add consistency to his game, asking if he can deliver that same “energy, intensity and quality” every week. Here’s what Howe had to say on all of the above.

Howe on Jacob Murphy impressing behind the scenes:

He’s brilliant behind the scenes. A real positive energy every day in training.

He works and hones his skills meticulously. He’s a real player that wants to invest time and try and elevate his game to another level.

I’m really pleased to see him come in and do well on the back of that work. I thought he was excellent last week.

Howe on Joe Willock’s MOTM display last weekend:

“I thought he was very good last week. I thought he epitomised the team in terms of his energy but also his quality in the assist for Miggy with the timing and the weight of the pass. I’m delighted for Joe because he’s a really likeable character.

“I’ve not heard this nickname Willockinho, but it’s a good one. I definitely feel England should be an aim for him. He has areas to improve but he has the potential. It’s there for him.

“He’s young enough and has potential to grow. His game has improved, but he can score more goals and assist more. Look at the Chelsea goal, which was a brilliant finish. If he can add more of those moments to his game, I’m sure he’ll be knocking on the door.

“He can get around the pitch brilliantly and can go into wide areas really well. He’s not a one-dimensional player and I really like that about him.”

Howe on Isak’s performance vs Wolves and his challenge to the striker moving forward:

Really good. That’s how he’s trained. As I said before he got the concussion, he was in really good form in training and I was desperate to see him execute that on the pitch. I felt he did that against Wolves and was outstanding in every respect. Physically he was very, very good. Technically very good and his goal, I still enjoy watching that even now a week after, so hopefully that’s the start of a really good run for him.

“He’s a different player to anyone we have in the squad. He’s got really good versatility to his game. He can do bits of everything, which is a great asset for us to have in our frontline. He brings a different dimension.

“I think to try and hit the levels that he did against Wolves on a consistent basis, I think that’s my challenge. Can he replicate energy, intensity, quality every single week? That’s easier said than done because that’s what you want from all your players. Certainly it’s a new benchmark in terms of his level.

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