Jamaal Lascelles has heaped praise on Joelinton after the forward ended his goal-drought against Rochdale – also revealing the work the Brazilian has done off the pitch during a difficult start to life on Tyneside.
Joelinton had gone 20 games without finding the back of the net before Tuesday night’s goal, and Lascelles has described his reaction when the 23-year-old finally managed to slot home past Rochdale keeper Robert Sanchez.
Here’s what the skipper’s had to say, describing the £40m summer signing as a “really good player” who’s done ‘a lot’ for the team – despite heavy criticism:
“You could see everyone’s reaction the minute he scored, I was jumping up – and nearly went on the pitch!
“He’s a really good player, and it’s tough for him. He’s playing up there by himself most games and fighting centre-halves. He does do a lot for the team, and now he’s got a goal.”
Lascelles was also asked what the record signing was like in the dressing room, and his response opposes the criticism that has come from some sections of supporters – who have stated that the striker simply doesn’t care enough:
“That’s what probably makes it even harder for us to see him go weeks and weeks and weeks without scoring. You just want him to score.
“He’s a great professional. He’s there early and puts in the work at training, is in the gym and keeps his head down, and doesn’t moan about anything.
“He genuinely does care and works hard for the club, so I was over the moon for him to get a little relief, and hopefully it can boost him for more games to come.”
With Almiron now scoring regularly and Joelinton breaking his apparent curse in front of goal, the prospect of our 2 forwards linking up for the rest of the season can fill fans with a small glimmer of excitement.
Let’s hope the big Brazilian can kick on after scoring his first competitive goal at St James’ Park!