A Joelinton Special

In the summer of 2019, the Magpies broke their transfer record when they signed Brazilian forward Joelinton (Full Name Joelinton Apolinario de Lira) on a six-year contract from Hoffenheim in a deal worth £40million.

It’s safe to say that his Newcastle career didn’t get off to the start that he and the Newcastle fans would have hoped for.

On the 11th of August 2019, Joelinton made his first appearance for his new side in a 1-0 defeat at home to Arsenal. Two weeks later he scored his first goal for Newcastle as they secured a 1-0 victory away to Tottenham Hotspur. Despite his best efforts, Joelinton had to wait until the 14th of January 2020 before he would be on the scoresheet once more which was in a 4-1 FA Cup Third Round Replay over Rochdale. His first Premier League goal at St James Park was not until 21st June when the Magpies convincingly beat Sheffield United 3-0. By the end of his first season at St James Park, Joelinton made 44 first team appearances, seven of them coming from the bench and scoring four times. His second season at St James Park was similar to his first, racking up a total of 36 first team appearances with ten of them coming on from the bench and chipping in with six goals in all competitions.

His first two seasons at the club drew plenty criticism from the Geordie faithful but in my opinion, it wasn’t due to the player’s lack of effort. The formation and style of play that the manager at the time (Steve Bruce) was coming up with was not one that could fully utilise his strength and the role they had him playing in was not one that suited his abilities.

When current manager Eddie Howe took over the reigns at Newcastle in November 2021, he quickly established that Joelinton could be utilised in a different position to where he would normally play. When Ciaran Clark was sent off against Norwich in what co-incidentally was the new managers first home league game, Eddie Howe was forced into a tactical reshuffle and ended up playing Joelinton as a box-to-box midfielder. Since then, he hasn’t looked back and continues to grow from strength to strength. The fans that were once slating him week in-week out now sing his name for the full match and often display a flag with his image on. He has always had the full support of his teammates, fellow midfielder Sean Longstaff stated “We know how good Joelinton is and the disrespect he gets is a disgrace. Every day in training he's the best player and if you get him on your team in training you're buzzing because you'll always win. Everyone at the club rates him so highly. The noise from outside is so disrespectful and if you watch him enough you see how good he is. I'm so happy for him and proud of him."

As a fan myself, I always believed that Joelinton would come good and would shine under a manager and coaching side that are tactically aware. You can see that he always gives 100% for the shirt, he fights for every ball and isn’t afraid to do his share of the defensive work. His work rate is second to none. If he continues with this impressive form for Newcastle then it is only a matter of time before he will get that call up to his national side.