Alexander Isak made his Newcastle United return against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday night, but was told to ‘wake up’ by former Toon defender Jose Enrique who criticised the striker.

He played 45 minutes as the Owls won 2-1 to dramatically dump Eddie Howe’s side out of the FA Cup.

The 23-year-old has been out since September with a thigh injury, limiting him to just three appearances for his new club prior to the clash at Hillsborough.

But it was reported earlier in the week that Isak could make his comeback against the Owls, and he was a shock inclusion in the starting lineup when it was released at 5pm.

Howe started the Swede up front in place of Callum Wilson, who was rested after suffering from illness before the Arsenal game.

It was excellent to see Isak in action after nearly fourth months out, and he had some great opportunities to mark his return with a goal.

Sheffield Wednesday v Newcastle United: Emirates FA Cup Third Round
Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

However, he did have one moment to forget in the 40th minute. The Magpies received a free-kick on the edge of the box in a wonderful position to find the opening goal of the game. Isak stood over it, looking to net his third goal in Toon colours.

But rather than firing it past Wednesday goalkeeper Cameron Dawson, Isak failed to get his effort off the ground as it was cleared away by the defender.

It was a golden opportunity wasted by the £63million man, and it resulted in Enrique taking a swipe at him on Twitter.

Enrique criticises Isak

The former left-back was not happy with what he saw from Isak, and took to his official Twitter account to criticise the forward.

He wrote: “That’s probably the worse free kick taking in the whole season by a player. Isak needs to wake up if he wants to be a starting player in this Newcastle.”

Lively return from Newcastle’s record signing

Enrique’s words are incredibly harsh. And it isn’t the first time that the Spaniard has had a pop at one of Howe’s players in 2023. He wasn’t impressed with Dan Burn’s efforts against Arsenal in our last Premier League outing.

While it was a rotten free kick from Isak, it was the only low moment from a lively return to action. He was withdrawn at half time for Chris Wood, as he continues his comeback from injury.

The former Real Sociedad man had multiple opportunities to score in the FA Cup third round clash, and forced Dawson into a couple of saves. One of the stops was excellent, showing great reflexes to keep out Isak’s close-range header.

Given how long he has been out for, it will take him a little bit of time to get back up to speed. But the main thing is he is back now and was able to play 45 minutes.

The criticism from Enrique is massively over the top. One bad free kick does not define whether or not he should be in the starting XI.

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