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Opinion

Will Joelinton Go Down As One Of Newcastle’s Worst Ever Players?

7 months ago
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I have got a book that I recently reread just after Christmas. If you’ve not read it before then I’d highly recommend Newcastle United’s Worst Ever Players by Peter Nuttall.

It’s a funny and nostalgic book tracing Newcastle’s worst player from the 80s through to the second Keegan reign.

With the book’s chronology ending circa 2010, there aren’t too many Mike Ashley signings in it. I definitely feel like the author could write a sequel just for the Ashley era when/if he finally sells.

There are certainly a few strikers that would fit in quite comfortably. Just giving it a few seconds thought, I scream in terror as visions of Emmanuel Riviere, Shefki Kuqi and Nile Ranger stumble into my consciousness.

We’ve certainly had some tosh up front in the last 13 years but will Joelinton top the lot?

I genuinely do feel for the Brazilian, despite the battering I’m about to give him.

He looks so forlorn, game after game. I know if I was doing as badly at my job and I had fifty thousand people there watching me, I would really hate it. I mean, if I was getting paid as much as him, I could probably struggle through, but it still must not be nice.

He’s not a complete disaster. He seems pretty comfortable on the ball and strong on the turn but as soon as he’s challenging for the ball in the air he looks as capable of winning the battle as a salmon against a grizzly!

I’ve seen him scuff, scrap and shunt headers and strikes wide of the mark time after time. Even his most recent goal against Oxford was a bit of a mishit.

He didn’t ask for his price tag but it has to be considered when judging him as a signing. For example, one of the players highlighted as one of Newcastle’s all-time worst in the aforementioned book is Ian Rush. He cost nothing and scored 2 goals in 14 games. Joelinton has 3 in 30 and cost £40/43 million!

Big Joe seems so bereft of confidence that he daren’t even get into goalscoring positions. Against Arsenal he had a half chance but the cutback from ASM was slightly behind him. I can forgive him a miss like that one but what happened later on that half was unforgivable.

I could see it panning out before it had done. ASM picked up the ball out wide and ran straight at the defence. I could see Joelinton just beyond the centre line casually jogging. At that moment, I willed him forwards. ASM was jinking and jiving like usual and managed to manoeuvre beyond the defence and play a perfect ball across the six-yard box. It was a striker’s dream, the type of pass that a natural striker would have struck or slid home before racing over to the architect to thank him for the gift.

But Joelinton had barely made it into the D, let alone the box. If you watch it back, ASM only starts about 10 yards ahead of him and because he slows down to face up Bellerin before bursting free, he’s not even at full pace for the entire dribble. If Joelinton had put the burners on he would have easily made it into a goalscoring position. I just don’t think he wants to be there. I think he’s struggling with the pressure and prefers to stay hidden. He took his two offside goals against Oxford well enough, maybe because he knew there was no pressure on either.

The truth is he doesn’t look like a £40 million player. He doesn’t really look much more than a £4 million player. We paid £5 million for Joselu and he got loads of stick for not being good enough and yet he scored 6 goals in 46 Premier League games whilst Joelinton has 1 in 26. Do you think he’ll get another 5 in his next 20?

Andreas Anderrson is the first name mentioned in the book, yet he scored 4 Premier League goals in 27 games. Only a hat-trick against Palace would see Joelinton match that tally.

It’s unfair to rule the Brazilian out and I really can’t see Mike Ashley taking the hit on him for a few years yet, so there should be time to redeem himself.

Maybe he’ll score ten more this season and in future seasons learn his trade well and become a regular goal scorer. Maybe he’ll grab a couple more vital FA Cup goals that help us through to a semi or final at Wembley and become a cult hero.

Or maybe he’ll continue to offer very little goal threat and stay at Newcastle for the rest of his contract before disappearing off to some backwater club on a free.

It will certainly be interesting to see how he’s remembered in a decade’s time.

You can follow the author on Twitter @billymerlin

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