Steve Bruce has hinted at a surprise new role for Joelinton following Andy Carroll’s return from injury.
The £40m Brazilian is our new no.9, but Bruce has suggested he may play him on the left-side of a front three at some stage, revealing that he operated in this role during Hoffenheim’s Champions League clash with Man City last year.
This would be done to facilitate Andy Carroll in a central role, with Bruce hinting at a potential front three of him, Joelinton and Saint-Maximin ‘at some point’ this season:
“I saw Joelinton play for Hoffenheim against Man City down the left.
“He’s done that throughout his career.
“A lot of teams play three up front.
“I have no problem playing him & Andy Carroll together in a two or even with Saint-Maximin as well in a three at some point”
Time will tell if Andy Carroll is able to start many games this season, and I expect Joelinton to play as a central striker 9 times out of 10, however this does highlight just how Bruce’s options in attack have opened up following the return of Carroll and Saint-Maximin.
Joelinton certainly seems to have the mobility, the work rate and the discipline to play in a wide area, not to mention the fact we’re yet to see his ability to dribble with the ball – something he was known for at Hoffenheim.
Anyway, let’s hope Andy Carroll’s ankle holds up and we get a few positive substitute appearances out of him before we spend too much time wondering how he’ll fit into our starting 11.