Rarely does a week go by these days where Eddie Howe isn’t asked about the transformation of Joelinton. The 25-year-old has been reborn since Howe joined in November and has found a new home in the Newcastle midfield.
Ciaran’s Clark sending off against Norwich has turned into a strange bit of good fortune. Howe was forced to shift to a 4-3-2 pushing Joelinton inside as part of a three-man midfield. The Brazilian rose to the task.
He’s been exclusively used in the midfield since mid-December becoming Newcastle’s most consistent force over that period. Saturday at Brentford was no different as he bagged a goal and made three Teams of the Week.
Howe spoke to talkSPORT earlier this week and Joelinton’s transformation was again a hot topic. Here’s what the boss said about Newcastle’s new folk hero:
“He’s an incredible guy
“He’s very, very focused on his football, very humble, very hardworking, and a really, really good trainer.
“He’s desperate to succeed and do well for Newcastle, and I can’t speak highly enough of him as a person.
“We have a really good relationship and he’s also a funny guy! He’s got a unique dress sense and he’s got a bit of Brazilian flair. I love him.
“Firstly, his defensive understanding and his tactical understanding of everything we’ve asked him to do has been very, very good.
“I think I said in an interview the other day, if you tell him something once, it sticks. You don’t have to tell him over and over again.
“So, his defensive delivery of the position has been at the highest level.
“And then his technical capabilities, which you can’t really doubt, are very, very high and, of course, with his center-forward background, he has an eye for goal and it showed against Brentford.
“So, he has all the qualities to play in that position and he’s done it very well for us.”
Newcastle’s midfield trio of Jonjo Shelvey, Joe Willock, and Joelinton, dubbed Jonjo-Joe-Jo by some, has been a revelation over our recent unbeaten streak. They’ve kept new signing Bruno Guimaraes out of the starting eleven.
It’s been five matches since Willock joined Shelvey and Joelinton as Newcastle have amassed 13 points over that stretch. We are likely to see the threesome once again on Saturday against Brighton.