Jonjo Shelvey has defended under-fire record signing Joelinton, insisting the Brazilian “man mountain” will become a “top, top striker” in the Premier League.
Joelinton has struggled since making a £40m move from Hoffenheim last summer, scoring just one league goal back in August, however Shelvey reveals how the absence of friends and family made the transition from Germany to Tyneside an extremely tough one for him as an inexperienced 22-year-old who couldn’t speak English.
He has been criticised for his goal return by supporters this campaign, with a lot suggesting he isn’t up to the standard that the Premier League demands – but Shelvey clearly feels he’ll come good if given the time.
Appearing on The Beautiful Game Podcast, here’s what Shelvey had to say – speaking positively about his fellow NUFC team-mate.
“I think he struggled because I don’t think he anyone over here with him,”
“I think his family have now moved over and you’re starting to see a bit more confidence in him.
“I think that much money, and that’s not his fault, but when you’re nought for that much money and you don’t come in and start scoring goals like that, then people are going to get on your back and stuff like that.”
“(You should) see what he does in training, he scores goals. When he first signed in the pre-season he was running channels, holding up the ball, getting in behind, and I still think he’s a very very good player.”
Shelvey was asked about where he believes the forward should play, with some fans believing he is not the out-and-out striker we initially thought he was.
“At Hoffenheim, I think he played on the left, but that’s where Maxi plays so… (laughter between Shelvey and host).
“For me, I just think that the people that are criticising him need to just chill out a bit and let him find his feet, he’s still only young and he’s a man mountain.
“He’s massive, he’s as strong as an ox!
“He will become a top, top striker in this league and I’ve played with Torres and Suarez and people like that.”
While Joelinton has been poor this season, our defensive system has hardly helped a young foreign striker find his feet in the Premier League.
The 5-4-1 that has been adopted for most of the campaign has been effective for the team, but disastrous for Joelinton.
A full season under his belt, potentially with a more attack-minded philosophy due to the takeover, should see a big improvement in his game next year.
It would be too early to totally write him off as a Newcastle player – especially after splashing out £40m for his services!