I would not swap Alexander Isak for anybody else – Newcastle boss Eddie Howe

The Sweden international scored at St James’ Park for the seventh successive game.

Eddie Howe heaped praise on Alexander Isak
Eddie Howe heaped praise on Alexander Isak (Richard Sellers/PA)

Eddie Howe has insisted he would not swap striker Alexander Isak for anyone else after watching him inspire Newcastle to a comeback victory over relegated Sheffield United.

The Sweden international dragged the Magpies back into a game they had started dreadfully, in the process scoring for the seventh successive home game – Alan Shearer’s record of 15 remains some way distant – before converting a second-half penalty in what proved to be a 5-1 romp.

Isak’s form – he has 23 goals to his name this season – has led to speculation that some of Europe’s biggest clubs might try sign him this summer, and Howe can understand why.

Asked if the 24-year-old is world class, head coach Howe said: “I think he is, yes, I think he is.

“For me, I think the biggest thing is would I swap him with anybody else? No, I wouldn’t. When you look at his age profile and what’s to come, you look at his attributes and his qualities, he’s some talent.”

Howe reiterated that the club’s £63million record signing is not for sale, and added: “I think we should just enjoy his performances, how he’s playing at the moment.

“He’s full of confidence, he looks physically in a really good place and I just think it’s a great thing to watch him play currently.”

Newcastle were woeful before the break and Anel Ahmedhodzic took full advantage to head the visitors into a fifth-minute lead, and although Isak levelled before the break with his 22nd of the season, they were fortune to be back on terms.

However, they turned on the style after the restart, Bruno Guimaraes putting them in front with a diving header before Isak struck from the spot with Ben Osborn’s own goal and a fifth from substitute Callum Wilson completing the job.

Howe said: “We knew half-time was going to be important for us. First half, we were – I don’t need to tell you – well off it, probably a little bit of tiredness from midweek, the first game in a while and then of course a very quick turnaround.

“It enabled us to settle down a few things and come up with a much better performance.”

Opposite number Chris Wilder admitted the Blades’ capitulation was the story of their season.

“Listen, we were teetering on the edge and obviously have been put to bed,” Wilder said. “Yet again, this season can be epitomised in terms of the game today.

“First half, possibly Eddie will say his team was lethargic or not up to it; I would say that we were really good. We created some incredible chances and goals change the manner of a game.

“And then second half really is how it’s been. Physically they upped the tempo, they turned the heat on us and the goals we concede are really poor from a leadership point of view yet again.

“We go 2-1 down, we go three, four, five really quickly, which has happened too many times.”