‘I’m a Prem boss – I am unable to escape footy and get in to work at 6.30am daily’

Early bird Eddie Howe has opened up about his football obsession, admitting he struggles to switch off from the game.

Howe is coming towards the end of his second full campaign in charge of Newcastle, whom he led to the Champions League last season. This term, which has seen the squad ravaged by injury, hasn’t been quite as successful, although the Magpies are sixth ahead of Wednesday’s trip to Manchester United and could still secure European football.

Since the club’s Saudi-led takeover, Howe has spearheaded the Magpies’ rise from also-rans into genuine top-six challengers. In a wide-ranging interview, the former Bournemouth and Burnley boss has revealed what makes him tick and how much football dominates his life.

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“I’m in quite early [every day], I do a gym session to help me mentally. I come in every day at 6.30am,” he told Gary Neville on The Overlap, brought to you by Sky Bet.

“Depending on the day, if it’s far away from the game, it’ll be all about how we can help the team for the weekend, looking at our opponent and trying to find strengths and weaknesses.

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Eddie Howe
Eddie Howe is in the gym at 6.30 every morning

Father of three Howe admitted he takes his work home with him and even gets his eldest son to help with football research. He added: “Yes, without a doubt. Yesterday, I got home, sat on the sofa and the Champions League is on, I say to my oldest son, get me a pen and paper, I’ve got an idea.

“I’ve been through the door five minutes and I’m starting to write down an idea for tomorrow’s training session by looking at the game for five minutes. I’m thinking, I haven’t seen my kids but you’re always there thinking of your team, thinking about the next game. Whatever the recent thought is, you can’t escape it, that’s how I live.”

Asked whether he gets accused of being there but not being there, he admitted: “Always, by my wife. My circle of friends now has got smaller, and smaller, and smaller because they’re going off and doing these things and I’m here in this world at the moment and I rarely come out of it.

Eddie Howe
It’s been an up and down season for Eddie Howe at Newcastle

‌”I tend to not escape from football when I get home. I find it difficult to take myself away from the game, mentally. I’ve got my kids who are great company for me and without them, I’d find it difficult, but usually with three boys running around, I find myself on a pitch and I’m in the garden playing with them.

‌”All my boys have the football bug, so in some senses I am back coaching again with them in the garden, giving them a hard time. I hope I’m alright with the boys and I’m not damaging them. I will try and coach them, but they are amazing, and they love the game.”