Steve Bruce has revealed that Joelinton is suffering from a real lack of ‘confidence’ – suggesting this is the key reason behind his early struggles at St James’ Park.
The Brazilian was dropped for the first time this season at Sheffield United and, although he was recalled for Sunday’s clash with Southampton, he failed to impress once again.
He was on the fringe of the game, posed little threat and struggled to link up with his teammates in attack, meaning Bruce hauled him off just before the hour mark for Andy Carroll.
Here’s what the NUFC boss has had to say about the £40m forward after his latest ineffective display:
“It’s that confidence one with him (Joelinton).
“He’s got to learn from big Andy, to help him.
“He’s new into the Premier League and is only young, and of course a lot of things get labelled at him with the big price tag.
“I’m still convinced he will be a big asset to us.
“He’s learning, and like everyone who comes to the Premier League, he’s finding it’s not easy.
“At the moment, for Jo, it’s not easy.”
I must admit, both his ability and confidence levels look worryingly low for a player we paid £40m to sign just a few months ago. You expect to sign the finished product at that price, yet he looks raw in so many areas.
That said, I maintain that he’s been thrown in at the deep end in so many ways.
Not only is he 23, in a new country, a new league and a new position (with him rarely leading the line on his own at Hoffenheim), he’s been given so little support or service up top.
The issue is, there’s only so long we can bemoan the lack of quality and creativity around him when he’s failing to do the basics.
Perhaps Bruce can given him a chance out wide following Saint-Maximin’s injury – a position he played on more than one occasion in Germany.
Either way, we need to see more from our club record signing. It’s vital we stay behind him, with any jeers or abuse on social media doing nothing for his visibly low confidence levels, but now’s the time for him to dig in, keep his head up and show us what he can really do – whether it’s out wide or up top.