Joelinton’s place in the Newcastle United starting line-up is undisputed despite his goal drought, with Steve Bruce backing the Brazilian to be a big hit in the Premier League.
The 6 ft 1 centre-forward has scored just once for the Magpies since joining the Toon in the summer for a club-record £40million (BBC), but will not be dropped for Sunday’s top-flight encounter with Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Joelinton opened his Toon account with the winning effort away to Tottenham Hotspur in August (WhoScored), but has since failed to break the goal line in any of his following appearances, despite starting each league game thus far.
But Bruce is confident that the 23-year-old can go on to deliver regular goals for his United side, although he concedes that Joelinton still needs time to adapt to the English game.
“Every goalscorer needs a bit of service, and that’s the difficult part of the game,” Bruce said, via quotes by the Telegraph. “We got ourselves into good positions at Chelsea and nothing came of it. We’ve got to make better decisions and be more clinical. The decisions we made last week weren’t good enough.
“I don’t think he needs a rest just yet, he just needs time. The boy [Nicolas] Pepe scored two for Arsenal this week and you’ll see a different player for that. It takes time to adjust to the Premier League, it doesn’t matter who you are or how big the price tag is, I’ve seen it so often.”
Pepe joined Arsenal in the summer for a club-record £72m (BBC) after staring in Ligue 1 for LOSC Lille last term, where only Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe was involved in more goals than the Ivory Coast winger.
The 24-year-old has struggled since moving to the Emirates, though, with one penalty goal in nine Premier League games all he had to show for his efforts before scoring two free-kicks against Portuguese side Vitoria Guimares in the Europa League on Thursday (TransferMarkt).
Bruce expects to see a similar lift from Joelinton as he does with Pepe once he can score again.
“We have no doubt he’s [Joelinton’s] a very good player,” Bruce added. “Like most strikers, they are a different animal after a goal, like he was at Spurs. He works hard in training, he’ll be a good player.
“We can still improve him. He’s only just turned 23. We knew there would be improvement and he can only get better.”
Joelinton’s start to life in the Premier League has not been aided by Newcastle utilising a five-man defence, as the Tyneside outfit currently boast one of the worst offences in the top-flight heading into this weekend’s fixtures.
Only Sunday’s opponent Wolves are averaging fewer shots per game than Newcastle, with the Molineux natives penning 8.9 efforts on goal to the Toon’s 9.0 (WhoScored).
The former TSG Hoffenheim attacker is not aiding his cause, though, as Joelinton failed to register any attempts on goal against Leicester City or Manchester United, and last fashioned a shot on target at Tottenham (WhoScored).
Newcastle fans, would you bench Joelinton against Wolves on Sunday? Let us know in the comments below…
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