We have been buoyed by the recent performances of our record signing Joelinton. After a dreadful start on Tyneside, the Brazilian has looked more confident and comfortable this season.
A lot of that has to do with the signing of Callum Wilson, who will now be our main goalscoring threat. That was a role Joelinton never came to grips with last season.
It was not for a lack of trying as Steve Bruce penciled the forward into his starting eleven in 32 of the first 34 league matches last season, scoring just 2 league goals and four overall.
Joelinton ended up making an appearance in all 38 Premier League games but had lost his place by the time the season came to a close. Dwight Gayle had assumed the number 9 role and Joelinton’s trial by fire of a season came to a close with 4 substitute appearances.
The big man has shown resilience as many fans are pulling for him to salvage his Newcastle career. Bruce has Wilson upfront which has allowed Joelinton to play in wide areas or as a withdrawn striker as he did against Burnley.
After not starting in the opening win at West Ham and the loss to Brighton, Joelinton’s recent performances have seen him slot back into Bruce’s first-team thinking.
After a so-so effort against Blackburn in the second round of the Carabao Cup, Bruce gave Big Joe another shot at Morecambe and he didn’t disappoint with two excellent goals. Joelinton started the next two league matches and also came on as a substitute at Newport County to provide a spark.
The Telegraph has conducted a Zoom interview with Joelinton and he’s opened up about his struggles last season as well as his reasons for optimism this year.
Here is some of what Joelinton had to say through an interpreter:
“This feels like a new start. I sort of want to forget about last season, it wasn’t the best. But I am happy, on and off the pitch. I am feeling confident, too. I’ve been playing well. I have scored some goals and I have helped the team get some wins. I want to keep growing, developing, and learning. If I am here with confidence, it will help the team be successful.
“The whole team helped me get through the tough times. It wasn’t just my team-mates, it was the coaching staff, the whole club really. They were always alongside me, they believed in me, and they provided me with the support I needed not to buckle, the support to keep going.
“My family are always alongside me. Difficulties arise in football – not just in football, but in life and in work. I never gave up. I continued to believe in myself, I continued to work. I have confidence in my potential because I would not have come here if I did not show my true ability previously.”
The whole of the club stuck by Joelinton last season. And it must have been a very hard one for him. He came to a new league in a foreign country and was tasked with providing the goals to keep a club in flux in the league.
It didn’t quite work out as hoped but Joelinton continued to work. Despite some harsh criticism, he’s concentrated on the positives from last year. As he explained in his interview, there were many fans who provided positive support to Joelinton which surely has helped him get off to such a good start this season:
“Football is passion and love and when you are dealing with these feelings it is difficult for people to hold on to their emotions. I understand them a little in terms of their criticism, but as well as critics, I have received a lot of support and help.
“I am the first person to be very critical of myself, I demand a lot from myself and I could feel the same frustration as the fans.
“The way they express it, that is part of being a fan, good and bad. There is a lot of passion here [in Newcastle], but there is also love.
“I prefer to take the positives, of course, but it all helps me. I received a lot of lovely messages from fans too. I save those. My motivation hasn’t changed.
“Outside, around the city, I’ve always had very good interactions with the fans. They have always been very supportive. There has not been a single ugly episode or angry interaction. That shows what the fans of Newcastle are like.”