Newcastle boss Howe hails versatility of rejuvenated Joelinton

News Desk
Newcastle head coach Eddie Howe pushes Joelinton

Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe has heaped praise on Joelinton’s transformation from a misfiring striker to a box-to-box midfielder.

The Brazilian looked set to become one of the Premier League’s biggest flops after failing to fire in front of goal following his £40million switch from Hoffenheim in 2019.

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But Howe’s decision to pull Joelinton back into the centre of the pitch already looks an inspired one, and the 25-year-old capped another eye-catching display with the opening goal in Saturday’s crucial 2-0 win at Brentford.

“The biggest compliment I can pay him is that he hasn’t made it look difficult and hasn’t required too much information from me,” said Howe.

“He absorbs the information quickly and is able to deliver. There’s been no sense of us carrying him defensively, far from it.

“Naturally, he has an attacking eye, he takes up some really good positions under pressure, in tight areas he’s been very, very good.

“We need him to score from that position and he was the man who got that first goal for us. Hopefully he can get many more arriving late in the box.”

Brentford lost Josh Dasilva to an early red card after he inadvertently caught Matt Targett on the shin with his studs, and Joe Willock added the second goal just before half-time.

The return of Christian Eriksen, 259 days after he suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch at Euro 2020, ultimately transcended the result, but these are worrying times for the Bees who are plummeting down the table after seven defeats in eight matches.

“One random situation decided the game,” said head coach Thomas Frank.

“Playing 10 against 11 for 80 plus minutes is just tough, but we’ve got to keep working hard and showing togetherness and it will turn around.”