A few weeks ago, Steve Bruce admitted something that plenty of fans already knew – that Joelinton is not a natural goalscorer. Bruce followed those comments up this week by playing the 23-year-old on the left wing and giving Dwight Gayle, who is a natural striker, a go up top.
The impact on Newcastle’s style of play was immediate as Gayle ran the channels and was in and around the box all game.
As long as Gayle can stay fit, which is a big question, Joelinton will likely continue on the wing over the next few weeks.
The big money signing from Hoffenheim has scored just three times in all competitions this season. It has been a frustrating start, to say the least to his Newcastle career.
However, many factors have led to his ineffectiveness. Not least of which is the style of play that Newcastle have implemented for much of this campaign. Joelinton has been far too isolated up front.
Bruce has changed that for the moment by adding another player at the top of the pitch. But it’s come too late for Joelinton, at least for the time being.
Another glaring issue is that Newcastle pinned all of their hopes on a young player who’d never really played as a lone striker.
Couple that with him being forced to adapt instantly to one of the hardest leagues to quickly find your feet in, and it was really a doomed proposition from the start.
Steve Bruce, however, despite his contentions that Joelinton is not a natural striker, has not abandoned all hope that he will come through and become a successful Newcastle number nine.
The Northern Echo have published the following comments from the head coach about Joelinton and strikers in the Premier League:
“This year, you only have to look at West Ham investing heavily in a big center-forward and I can understand the way the club were thinking.
“They wanted a big center-forward to lead the line, the No 9 for Newcastle, and you search around England and think, ‘where do you get one of those?’
“So, of course, you go to Europe and if you look at Sebastien Haller at West Ham and the boy who’s injured at Aston Villa (Wesley), who’s another big No.9, and you look at the returns they give, they have all found it difficult.
“That’s my experience of it. It takes a while so maybe another 12 months.
“Of course you can’t wait that long – that’s the problem. We’ll try to find a solution. In my opinion, unless you’re a top one, to get used to the Premier League takes maybe a season.”
There’s a bit of a mixed message here from Bruce. He says it generally takes a year for a striker to find his way in the Premier League.
However, he asserts that it could take another 12 months for Joelinton, which we suppose is a good thing for Newcastle fans.
The club cannot go into next season expecting Joelinton to suddenly become a goalscorer. They must bring in another couple of strikers who can get some goals for this club.
While Bruce hasn’t given up hope on the Brazilian just yet, thankfully, he is planning on addressing the striker position in the summer.
“Of course we are looking at the summer. We would be wrong not to. That’s why I didn’t spend any money in January.
“If I had brought someone in who was not of better quality, we would be stuck in the same situation. We’ll go again, we’ll have another look again and see what we can do.”
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