Much of Steve Bruce’s press conference this morning was spent on the plight of our record signing Joelinton and his struggles in front of the net.
The 23-year-old has just one Premier League goal to his name despite starting all but one of the fixtures. It’s a return that has to be concerning for all involved with the club.
It may just be that Joelinton, who has never been prolific in his career, is just not going to contribute as many goals as was hoped when he signed from Hoffenheim this past summer.
He just doesn’t have the natural instinct that many top goalscorers possess. Steve Bruce mentioned some of that during his press conference this morning:
“Like the great strikers that you talk about who are goalscorers, he has to be a bit more selfish. A bit like a top goalscorer. They are totally selfish. All they are interested in is scoring a goal.
“Joe is not like that. He’s more of a team player. He’s played to a side a lot, which I think is pretty evident on a lot of occasions.”
It’s looking highly unlikely that Joelinton is going to be the next great number nine at Newcastle. At least in terms of scoring goals. That doesn’t mean that he is necessarily a flop.
He’s being asked to play a role that he’s just not comfortable in. Newcastle will have to address the striker situation in the summer and bring in a natural goalscorer.
Joelinton can then play in a more withdrawn role or ‘to a side’ as Steve Bruce puts it. Unless of course, he shows dramatic improvement to finish this season.
Bruce was asked a number of times about Joelinton not showing the instincts of a striker so far this season. Bruce responded in kind that he has to continue to work to get into the position to score goals:
“A natural goalscorer is something which there are not many around. He has to keep working and improving. His finishing is excellent in training.
“He doesn’t get himself in the positions enough, which is something that we’re working on. He’s got to be a bit more selfish. If he does that, then we’re convinced he’ll be ok.”
When asked if Joelinton had the hunger to be successful at Newcastle, Bruce was quick to respond that Joelinton certainly has shown the desire to improve:
“He’s certainly got the hunger. He never shies away from anything. With all the criticism and with all the stuff, he’ll be desperate to play tomorrow even though he’s had a niggling thigh injury.
“He’s one of them who doesn’t miss a day’s training, doesn’t shirk anything. With that, you hope that he comes good.”
It’s been a disastrous season so far for Joelinton. You have to have some level of sympathy for him. The style of play at the moment does him no favors.
We still think Joelinton can have a successful career at Newcastle. However, it’s likely going to take a change of role or system to see that happen.
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