Newcastle boss Eddie Howe is hoping Bruno Guimaraes can respond to his World Cup heartbreak by maintaining his club form as the Magpies look to end their trophy drought.
The 25-year-old Brazil midfielder, who has made a huge impact on Tyneside since his £35million arrival from Lyon in January, was used only twice from the bench in Qatar and was criticised heavily in the media back at home for his contribution as his country were knocked out in the quarter-finals.
Magpies head coach Howe has challenged a man who has already established himself as a folk hero at St James’ Park to put a difficult experience behind him ahead of Tuesday night’s Carabao Cup fourth round clash with Bournemouth.
He said: “He’s fine physically. He’s obviously disappointed to not reach the latter stages of the World Cup with his country.
“Their dream was to win the tournament, but he’s focused now on Newcastle and that’s very important for all the players, to put all that behind them and take what positives they can.”
Asked if Guimaraes had to prove he should have been used more by Brazil boss Tite, Howe added: “That’s all he can do, continue his form from earlier in the season.
“For me, he has been outstanding for us. He had a small injury at the start of the season, but once he got his fitness back, he has been incredible.
“I hope we get to see the same Bruno come back because he is a massive presence in our team.”
The Brazilian was one of five Newcastle players to travel to Qatar and while two of them – England duo Nick Pope and Kieran Trippier – played in Saturday’s friendly victory over Rayo Vallecano, compatriot Callum Wilson, Switzerland defender Fabian Schar and Guimaraes were not involved.
Howe said: “I spoke with all the international lads when they came back, obviously. Kieran and Nick were very keen to play in the game.
“Those conversations are important because those boys have had not just the physical load from being at the World Cup, but the mental side of it can’t be under-estimated, so I’ll continue those conversations with the other lads and we’ll see where we are.”
Howe, who will make late decisions on Dan Burn, Joelinton and Miguel Almiron, also has a doubt over striker Allan Saint-Maximin after he picked up a knock late in Saturday’s game.
He said: “Obviously after a game things can be sore, but they can settle quickly, so hopefully that’s the case.”
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