Newcastle United legend Alan Shearer has hailed Eddie Howe for realising what Joelinton can really offer to a winning side and helping turn him into one of the Premier League’s most in-form players.
Even when playing as a striker for his previous clubs, Joelinton had always been about moving into areas away from the six-yard box and bringing other players into play as much as it was about scoring goals: he had registered a goal or assist every other league game in his final season at Hoffenheim, but the two tallies were evenly divided.
So when the Brazilian was given both the weighty No 9 shirt and the out-and-out centre-forward role to match at St James’ Park, Shearer felt it brought a burden of undue expectation – but is thrilled to see him now thriving in a variety of midfield and wing positions, as befits the number 7 shirt he took on after the end of his first season.
Shearer told the Premier League, as transcribed by HITC: “I felt sorry for Joelinton when he first came to Newcastle. It was unfair to put him in the position that he did: giving him the number nine shirt, paying that amount of money for him and expecting him to be their saviour by scoring goals when that wasn’t his job.
“That wasn’t what he was brought in to do, in terms of what the fans expected of him. [But] the way Eddie has gone in and handled him and turned him into a crowd favourite. They always appreciated him because he never hid.
“He always wanted the ball, however tough it was for him and Newcastle fans appreciated that. But what he is doing now is incredible. He is aggressive, on the front foot and he’s scoring goals. He has turned into an incredible player for Newcastle.”
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