According to The Athletic’s Chris Waugh, Newcastle scouts believed Joelinton’s “outstanding” displays for Hoffenheim came when he played ‘wider, deeper or with support up top’ – not as a lone striker.
This comes from scouting reports from head of recruitment Steve Nickson, making a mockery of the fact he’s not only been so isolated but tasked to lead the line on his own as our big new number 9.
There can be no doubting the fact he’s not been good enough and has failed to show the quality you’d expect from a £40m Brazilian and club-record buy, however this really does make you wonder why he was signed to play in a role he has so little experience in.
Here’s an intriguing snippet from Waugh’s latest piece for The Athletic:
“The Athletic has also learned that early scouting reports from head of recruitment Steve Nickson detailed how Joelinton often played wider, deeper or with support up top for Hoffenheim – with many of his performances described as “outstanding” within them – but rarely as a lone centre forward. Yet Newcastle signed him as such.”
Just look at this clip below, showing him at his best for Hoffenheim when breaking from deep or picking up the ball and driving from wide areas:
As we state in the tweet above, he seems to thrive when he has the game ahead of him and space to drive into – not with his back to goal with no player within 30 yards of him (as he’s often found at NUFC).
He needs to up his game, but these comments and the clip above highlight how poorly he’s been managed since he made a big money move to England.
Bruce played him wide of Andy Carroll at Burnley and, without him pulling up any trees, there were signs of improvement, with him almost bagging a brilliant assist after muscling Erik Pieters to the floor, driving forward with the ball and whipping an inch-perfect cross into Dwight Gayle’s path; only for him to miss.
Hopefully Bruce can learn from this and find a way to get the best out of our big-money Brazilian. The only issue is, who then plays up top and how does he fit in when Saint-Maximin and Almiron are fit?