Alexander Isak’s Sweden got off to a rocky start in their Euro 2024 qualifiers last night with Newcastle United’s record signing having a poor game, however it seems the pre-match press conference was even tougher.
Newcastle’s £63million signing left for international duty off the back of two stunning performances for the Magpies during which he bagged two goals. Unfortunately, he didn’t manage to carry that form into his performance for Sweden against Belgium on Friday night.
Belgium ran out convincing 3-0 winners and Isak was hooked on 73 minutes after a shaky performance. He was replaced by 41-year-old Zlatan Ibrahimovic who became the competition’s oldest outfield player. But it was the Swedish press who were even more brutal than the Belgians, quizzing Isak on his motives behind joining Newcastle.
Isak was asked some tough questions by the Swedish press
Speaking before the game Isak was asked why he joined Newcastle (via Fotbollskanalen): “The basis for me when I went to Newcastle was the sporting aspect. That’s what I value most when I choose a club. That was the most important thing for me. Then how situations look like in different countries is not for me to answer.”
He was then pressed about the Newcastle ownership in his first interview in Sweden since joining the Magpies. Isak dealt with the questions brilliantly, responding to questions surrounding the trip to Dubai, saying: “I don’t really know. The experience I’ve had hasn’t been bad, but I’m not familiar enough with it to be able to give a detailed answer. We are owned by a Saudi fund, so it’s not surprising that we can go there for a training camp.”
Isak was then asked if it’s unfair for players to be pushed on these issues, to which he said: “In a way. At the same time, I can understand that the questions are asked. But I also think that there should be an understanding that when you make career choices, it is primarily what is best for your career (that is valued). I was very happy with the choice I made. I still am.”
The subject is going to come back around with a vengeance
These questions aren’t going to go away, and with the Qatari interest in Manchester United as well as the upcoming Amazon Prime documentary, it’s likely that these issue will once again be at the forefront of the media’s minds when speaking to representatives of Newcastle.
If everyone handles it as well as Isak did, then I think we’ll be fine. What he said is absolutely right, players will be making their decisions for professional reasons, as did Eddie Howe when he joined. The reality is, these things probably didn’t factor into their decision at all until they were asked about it.