This comes from his in-depth interview with The Athletic, which also sees him explain why the big Brazilian has been “royally shafted” since making a big money move from Hoffenheim.
He insists that “none of it is his fault”, feeling the no.9 shirt put him in an impossible position when he’s not a goalscorer and never has been – also feeling that the £40m price tag was “too much”, but, again, not something we can hold against him when it wasn’t his doing.
Here’s what big Al’s had to say:
“In terms of Brucey getting a bit of power back, the Joelinton thing has probably helped him,”
“The top brass might listen to his opinion more than they listened to other managers.
“I feel sorry for Joelinton, though, because he has been royally shafted. None of it is his fault.
“He was asked to wear the No 9 shirt, but he’s not a No 9 and he’s not a natural goalscorer which, if you wear the No 9 shirt for Newcastle, you have to be.
“And the fee for him was obviously too much. None of that is his fault.
“Having said that, he looked a lot better against Burnley in that role as a No 10.
“It was one of his best games for the club.”
Shearer has given the 24-year-old a tough time since he signed last summer, criticising his lack of movement or goal threat up top, however he’s raised a few VERY good points here.
OK, he’s not been good enough at times and has looked nowhere near a £40m player, but we’ve done anything but play to his strengths and have piled pressure and huge expectation on his shoulders from day one – despite having no reasonable plan of action that allows him to fit into our side and become the player we hoped he would be.
Bruce is finally playing him in a deeper role, giving him space to run into and options ahead of him, and we’re now seeing what he’s capable of as a result.
He’s not a lone striker or a ‘no.9’. He never was and he never will be, but hopefully he can build on a string of much improved displays in a more withdrawn role.
He may never live up to that £40m price tag, but he can still prove to be a good player for Newcastle United – especially if he keeps playing as he did the weekend before last.