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Ladies and gentlemen, Newcastle could play Four-Four-f***ing-Two! Eddie Howe is relishing the opportunity to sign strikers Alexander Isak and Callum Wilson together at Brentford… but insists his approach is much more nuanced than Mike Bassett’s.

  • Newcastle need a win to ensure they finish in the European places
  • Howe could link up with Isak and Wilson to boost the Magpies on the final day
  • When you’re in the stadium you MUST support your own players – Listen to It’s All Kicking Off! podcast

Eddie Howe could be ready to release Alexander Isak and Callum Wilson for only the second time this season – but claims his 4-4-2 is more nuanced than Mike Bassett’s.

Newcastle need a win at Brentford today to be assured of finishing in the European places, and then they must hope Manchester United lose in the FA Cup final.

To achieve this, Howe considered whether to use two strikers, with Wilson set to return from illness for the trip to west London.

He partnered Wilson and Isak at Burnley earlier this month and both scored in a 4-1 win.

And Howe was asked if there was still a place in the modern game for the formation used by fictional England boss Mike Bassett in the hit film.

Eddie Howe could play with two strikers in Newcastle's final game of the season

Eddie Howe could play with two strikers in Newcastle’s final game of the season

Callum Wilson could play up front in a 4-4-2

Alexander Isak would be his partner in front

England international Callum Wilson (left) could be unleashed alongside Alexander Isak (right) as Newcastle look to finish in the European places in the final Premier League weekend.

Howe could make a 4-4-2 against Brentford

Eddie Howe says his 4-4-2 is more nuanced than that of fictional England boss Mike Bassett.

Howe said his 4-4-2 was more nuanced than that of fictional England boss Mike Bassett (right).

“I’ll make one thing clear, it’s not a Mike Bassett 4-4-2 that we’re playing!” he said. “I can’t believe I’m saying that…it’s a little more complex than that.”

“But with these two players, with the attributes they have, they can definitely play together.”

How big of a blow was it not having them both available for much of the season?

“Along with a lot of things, that was one of the biggest factors that impacted the season,” Howe said. “Let’s go back to the previous season, I was putting them together. It was a great option. As soon as we looked tired, I could replace them.

“The competition between them was healthy and seemed to motivate them both. When you only have one available, this competition disappears. This can have a detrimental effect. One of them then had to stay on the field even though he was not in the best physical shape. I would have loved to have had the opportunity to play them together more, but every manager would have these stories to tell.

Meanwhile, Howe was asked whether the club’s Saudi owners retained the ambition of becoming the world’s No.1 club, as they had previously stated.

“The ambition is there, but we have to work according to reality,” he said. “And the reality is that we are not yet the No. 1 club off the field in terms of revenue, nor the No. 1 club in many areas. So to get there it will take a lot of work.

“But they are very serious about it. I haven’t seen any indication to the contrary. The problem is that in other sports (golf, boxing) you can possibly invest whatever you want. Here it’s definitely not possible and I think that’s the problem, and it’s a topic of discussion for everyone connected with football at the moment.

Isak (pictured) and Wilson have scored 34 goals between them, with the Swedish striker only behind Erling Haaland and Cole Palmer in the Premier League goalscoring charts this season.

Isak (pictured) and Wilson have scored 34 goals between them, with the Swedish striker only behind Erling Haaland and Cole Palmer in the Premier League goalscoring charts this season.

Newcastle may not play in Europe even if they get the result they need on Sunday, as they will have to wait to see if Manchester United take their place by winning next week's FA Cup final.

Newcastle may not play in Europe even if they get the result they need on Sunday, as they will have to wait to see if Manchester United take their place by winning next week’s FA Cup final.

“Everyone wants to grow the club quickly, but I don’t think you can consider it a race.

“The club will progress at the pace it can within the rules. I understand that everyone wants to succeed yesterday. My job is sometimes to control that and give a truer picture of what is happening at the football club.

“Yes, we’re trying to develop it, but the players and staff have done incredibly well since I’ve been here. Our rate of progress has been very rapid in my opinion, and everyone has done incredibly well, so I understand the asks for more, but it must be considered that we have done well so far.

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