Steve Bruce commented this morning on the options he has in attack with the return of Andy Carroll and Allan Saint-Maximin from injury. Here is a clip of Bruce’s press conference where he mentions how the versatility of Joelinton can help with options upfront.
?? "A lot of teams play with three forwards these days. It's not a problem, that's what they're here for."
— The Chronicle (@ChronicleNUFC) September 20, 2019
Joelinton actually played on either flank in two matches against Manchester City in the Champions League. The game Bruce is referencing saw Joelinton play on the left with Andrej Kramaric as the number 9. However, in the earlier home match against the Premier League champions, Joelinton was on the right as Hungarian Adam Szalai led the line. He also played with a strike partner against Lyon when Hoffenheim transitioned to a 3-5-2.
Joelinton is a versatile player who has improved quite a bit in his hold-up play over the last three matches. He seems to have learned that he is not going to get any time on the ball and has made the transition superbly. We have been so impressed with the big man in possession when he shields off defenders and gets the ball to advancing teammates.
We are anxiously waiting to see what a Joelinton/Carroll combo could look like. Playing Joelinton on the left may be the best option which could be why Bruce mentioned it. With a marauding Jetro Willems down that flank, Joelinton will have some freedom to roam inside and find space when on the attack. We also have the ultra-reliable Paul Dummett on the left side of the back three.
Joelinton also seems happy to do whatever it takes to help out this team. This is what Joelinton said to nufc.co.uk about adjusting his roll with the returning Andy Carroll:
“Last season at Hoffenheim I played with another No. 9, and I can also move position if the coach asks me. It’s the coach’s choice if he wants to be playing with one or two up top; if he wants there to be two, then that’s fine.
“I just want to help Newcastle out – be it playing as a No. 9 or a No. 10, dropping a bit further back. I always just want to help the team and give my all on the pitch, and try and make that lead to a win. I’m here to help in whatever position I have to play in.”
Joelinton seems a great lad, and he has improved so much since the match at Norwich City. With Andy Carroll and Allan Saint-Maximin about to make there return, it will relieve some of the pressure on the Brazilian. We are eager to see what these three new signings can do together on the pitch.