Joelinton has insisted that fans will “definitely” see improvements in his game next season after admitting to a tough first year in English football.
The Brazilian arrived from Hoffenheim last summer as the club’s new record signing, however he’s failed to live up to expectations with just two Premier League goals and a string of unconvincing displays.
With his first season in the top flight almost over, the 23-year-old has spoken out about the challenges he’s desperate to overcome, insisting the experience he’s faced and the adaptation period he’s endured will only go on to help him in 2020/21.
Here’s what he’s had to say on that, followed by an insight into his ongoing discussions with Steve Bruce:
“The Premier League is the best competition in the world,
“It’s where the best players play. You have the best teams and the best managers so it was definitely a challenge coming into the Premier League which is so competitive and every game is so disputed.
“But I knew it would be difficult when I came here and I’m happy for the experience and the possibility to settle in and adapt and definitely there will be improvements next season.
“That’s what I hope for and that’s what I’m working hard towards and I’m very happy.
“I knew it wouldn’t be easy but that’s always been the case in my career and I’ve always worked hard to do well.”
Joelinton then talked about the conversations he’s had with Steve Bruce over his struggle for form, revealing how he’s been told to become more selfish in the final third and get himself in better areas more regularly if he wants to reinvent himself as a true no.9:
“Yes, all season he’s demanded this of me, demanded that I needed to be a bit greedier or more selfish,”
“I’ve always got this desire to score goals, to finish and it’s not just Steve Bruce that’s demanding this of me. Other coaches have previously.
“However, if I see a team-mate in a better position, I will always look to pass to them but, also, if I get the chance, I will look to score.
“It’s what the fans want, it’s what the coaches want – a first touch finish – and the goal against Sheffield United was very characteristic of what we’ve been doing in training. You know, for me to be in the area.
“They want me to be there available in the area and finish with one touch. I think that really represents what we’re doing in training and we’re very happy with everything. “
Whether you think there’s a player in here somewhere or that he’s no better than Joselu on current evidence, I think we have to factor in that he’s not had it easy. He’s still young and inexperienced, yet he’s been thrown into the lions den and expected to produce in a role that never suited him (he’s not and never will be a lone striker, Steve!), he’s moved away from home into a new country, a new city and a new league without the support of family around him and he’s also still learning the language.
So many fans treat footballers like robots who should automatically be able to perform at the highest level if they cost so much, but they are human beings too. Just about everything that could’ve made his transition into English football that little bit tougher seems to have gone against him.
Whether it’s up top, out wide or as a second striker, I really do hope our young Brazilian can find his feet in England and start showing us why the club forked out ‘£40m’ to bring him to St James’ Park last summer.
After all, it wasn’t long ago that a confident and content Joelinton was causing Bundesliga defences all sorts of problems and earning the praise of Jurgen Klopp in our early-season defeat at Anfield.
In what could be a make or break year for him, let’s get behind our man and hope he can produce the goods second time around.