Steve Bruce has admitted that Joelinton is thriving from that “bit of freedom” he’s been given in recent weeks – accepting it “suits him” to play deeper, not as a number nine.
It’s sounds ridiculous when he was signed as a striker and handed the no.9 shirt, however it’s always been the case that the Brazilian is far more suited in a slightly withdrawn role where he instead drives from deep.
After all, this is exactly how he made a name for himself at Hoffenheim – and we saw that on Saturday night as he put in his best performance at St James’ Park yet from more of a no.10 role just off of Callum Wilson.
Here’s what Bruce had to say after the big man’s eye-catching display:
“I thought Joe was our best player at Spurs.
“I thought he was our best player when he came on at Newport.
“Tonight Allan maybe shaded it but he was very good.
“Not playing as a nine suits him and gives him a bit of freedom.
“He’s added something I’m pleased about.”
It’s nice to see that Bruce has not only praised his display over the weekend but also recognises how much better he was against Spurs and Newport.
As he says, he was our best outfield player in both and appears to be benefiting from the confidence those two goals at Morecambe gave him – not to mention the fact it helps when he’s played in his best position!
He still has a long way to go in a black and white shirt and some will still be very much unconvinced he’ll ever truly come good, however it’s been good to see him show what he’s capable of in recent weeks.
It’s amazing what confidence and playing a talented young player in their most comfortable position can do!