If Steve Bruce’s recent comments about Joelinton are anything to go by, we may be about to see the Brazilian play in a new position over the festive period.
Speaking to the press last week, the NUFC boss revealed how he’d been impressed by Joelinton when watching him play out wide in a 4-3-3 during Hoffenheim’s Champions League clash with Man City last season.
He then went on to say that the 23-year-old may get his chance to play wide left “if we’ve got a problem”. A few days on and this “problem” has sadly arrived, with Saint-Maximin pulling up against Southampton with another hamstring tear.
With it now confirmed that it’ll keep the Frenchman out for a month, meaning he’s likely to miss our next 6 games, Bruce’s recent comments suggest Joelinton could be set for a spell out wide:
Here’s that the NUFC boss said about the former Hoffenheim star last week:
“There’s no disputing that he’s finding it tough at the minute because of what goes with being Newcastle’s centre forward and a big price tag,”
“He’s just got to keep working away and let’s hope we can try and keep encouraging him if we can. He has to get into the box more often.
“In that respect, you can see why half of his career was played to a side in a 4-3-3.
“When I saw him play live, he played on the left-hand side against Man City in the Champions League.
“You can understand it because half of his career he hasn’t been a natural centre forward so that might give me a bit of a food for thought later to play him on the left as well if we’ve got a problem.”
I’m pretty certain we’ll see Christian Atsu start at Turf Moor this Saturday, but with Bruce desperate to give his £40m man a boost in confidence and new lease of life, it sounds to me like we’ll see him trialled out wide at some stage over the festive period.
The fact Andy Carroll is really staking a claim to start up top also gives Bruce another reason to use Joelinton elsewhere, with the Geordie striker convincingly outperforming the Brazilian in recent weeks.
Would you like to see Bruce give him a chance out wide? Whether it could work or not, it certainly looks like one to watch in the coming weeks..