The Brazilian has scored just once all season since sealing a big money move from Hoffenheim over the summer. Saturday’s FA Cup clash at Rochdale was seen as a potentially confidence boosting opportunity to double or triple his tally for the club against League One opposition, but things only went from bad to worse, sadly.
He not only missed a few big chances and struggled to hold up the ball, but lost the ball cheaply in the build up to Rochdale’s equaliser – something that tipped several NUFC fans over the edge in the away end.
There were some ugly scenes – with many chanting “you’re not fit to wear the shirt” – and former Newcastle no.9 Alan Shearer has now had his say on the striker’s struggles.
Here’s what he’s had to say about the 23-year-old during his latest column for The Sun:
“Joelinton is really struggling at Newcastle and not living up to his £40m price tag
“That fee wasn’t his fault but it naturally throws a spotlight on him.
“The only answer for the Brazilian is to keep training hard and hope it turns around, because injury-hit Newcastle don’t have the luxury of being able to take him out of the firing line to give him a rest.”
Some valid points from Shearer, with one being the price tag. It’s not Joelinton’s fault the club decided to pay well over the odds for what was (and is) and unproven young talent – however it does go without saying that he must start showing MUCH more.
Missed chances and poor hold up play are difficult to accept when you’re the club’s ‘record signing’, but a lack of desire to get into the box and defeatist body language is not acceptable. Yes he struggled in front of goal again, but it was his casual approach to getting into good positions (something he should be desperate to do when struggling for goals) and his lack of reaction after losing the ball that frustrated me.
As Shearer states, our lack of alternatives up top is another big issue. His form and low confidence levels mean he may need to be taken out of the firing line, but with Carroll struggling to play every week, Gayle having his own form/fitness issues and Muto picking up a new injury at Rochdale, it’s difficult to know what Bruce will do next.
Hopefully Joelinton can respond with a big display at Wolves. A goal or two is what we all crave from our new number 9, but putting himself about, complaining less, battling more and showing far more desire to get on the end of balls into the box would be a good start.