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Joelinton now to find his true position at Newcastle United – You heard it here first

4 months ago
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It was match 101 on Saturday for Joelinton at Newcastle United.

Arriving on 23 July 2019 for a club record £40m from Hoffenheim.

The then 22 year old Brazilian signing for Newcastle only six days after Steve Bruce was appointed as NUFC Head Coach.

Steve Bruce declaring that the goals would flow after signing this ‘centre-forward’, the former Head Coach also talking of a ‘natural goalscorer’ coming in to fill the number nine shirt.

It is now 88 Premier League appearances in 30 months and seven PL goals scored.

In the 88 Premier League appearances only the five assists.

Indeed, Steve Bruce eventually coming out and saying that actually, Newcastle United had spent £40m on a natural goalscoring centre-forward, who was not actually a centre-forward, nor a natural goalscorer.

Bruce started to play Joelinton in a more withdrawn role, kind of towards the left hand side, or indeed…not at all.

Yes, after he and Mike Ashley brought in Joelinton for £40m, Steve Bruce in his final 50 Premier League games, started the record signing only 28 times, the Brazilian becoming a regular bench warmer as the former Head Coach didn’t have a clue what to do with him.

Fast forward to the present day and Joelinton looks a completely different player.

Nobody pretends that the team is now in any ways ideal. However, Joelinton is one of a number of players who looks far better under Eddie Howe.

With more / better training, Joelinton now looks fitter and more focused, knows the job he is being asked to do and ticking the boxes in so many ways. Newcastle’s best player on Saturday against Watford, indeed I would say the now 25 year has probably been NUFC’s best player in the majority of the nine PL games under Howe.

Not a single Newcastle fan would have predicted this.

However, I think Joelinton is still yet to find his true position at Newcastle United.

You heard it here first and I predict Eddie Howe may well very soon give it a try.

It has become quite clear that Joelinton’s strengths don’t lie in scoring goals. Not exactly a revelation. Nor in making them either. Although should still be expectations for both these stats to improve (only one PL goal and one PL assist this season for the £40m man), on top of the improvement in the rest of his game.

Those big improvements have been further back on the pitch and still largely towards the left, with Joelinton winning pretty much every header, so strong when in possession and protecting the ball, physical challenges / winning the ball back, driving forward with the ball on usually shortish runs, before releasing to others.

All well and good BUT I think he can be far more effective and contribute so much more, in what I believe could be his very best position.

Newcastle United’s central midfield is so woeful, Eddie Howe needs to go full on and stick Joelinton in the middle of the pitch, like a Brazilian Batty / Tiote.

Joelinton is now by some distance Newcastle’s best midfielder and with that being the case, he needs to be in a central role where he is involved as much as possible. United win the battle in the pitch so infrequently, whereas I think with Joelinton in there, we could see vast improvement.

He has a great engine and with his strength, power, ability in the air and now very apparent heart of the sleeve determination, this could be a key move if Newcastle are to get out of relegation trouble. We might even find that in a more central midfield role, even goals and assists could start to flow for Joelinton.

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