Eddie Howe planning to reinvent Newcastle flop Joelinton as midfielder

Eddie Howe reveals he could reinvent £40m Newcastle flop Joelinton as a CENTRAL MIDFIELDER, with new Toon boss adamant the striker can still be a ‘huge player’ for his struggling side

  • Joelinton has struggled since becoming Newcastle’s club-record buy in 2019
  • The Brazilian was written off by supporters after scoring twice in his first season
  • New boss Eddie Howe used him as a midfielder in Tuesday’s draw with Norwich
  • Howe was delighted with Joelinton’s display and believes there is ‘more to come’

Newcastle boss Eddie Howe says he could reinvent Joelinton as a central midfielder as the £40million record signing continues to resurrect his reputation.

The Brazilian was bought as a striker in the summer of 2019 and was duly handed the club’s iconic No 9 jersey.

However, Joelinton scored just two Premier League goals in his first season and was written off by the majority of supporters and observers.

His form picked up during periods last year, but the arrival of Howe has seen his performances improve dramatically in recent weeks.

Newcastle boss Eddie Howe believes he could reinvent Joelinton as a central midfielder

His latest was an all-action midfield showing during Tuesday’s 1-1 draw at home to Norwich – when he dropped into a deeper role after Ciaran Clark was sent off on nine minutes – and the sight of him crunching through tackles won rapturous applause around St James’ Park.

Howe will now consider using him in such a position going forward and believes the 25-year-old can win over the doubters.

‘He’s had a difficult moment, going to a new club for a big fee, but his resilience and attitude to that has been fantastic,’ said Howe, whose side are six points from safety and winless after 14 games.

‘He has had no negative reaction, only eagerness to prove his worth to the team, supporters and club. Longer term, I really think he can do that. I see someone who can make a difference for us and is very motivated to do well.

‘He covered every blade of grass the other night and put in tackles you wouldn’t associate with a centre-forward. The tactical delivery of what we asked him to do, in two different positions, was of the highest level.’

Joelinton impressed Howe when used as a midfielder in Tuesday’s draw with Norwich

Asked if he could be used in a midfield role, Howe said: ‘Callum (Wilson) plays the out-and-out striker role very well. Joelinton’s qualities are different to Callum’s.

‘He has a technical ability that suits us going deeper into the pitch. He took to that midfield role with minimal instructions and delivered it absolutely brilliantly. That’s a great sign for me to see players with that adaptable quality.

The Brazilian has struggled since becoming Newcastle’s club-record signing in 2019

‘Joe has been fantastic for me since we came in. We really like him. He’s got good physicality and technical ability. You saw the other night, some superb footwork to get out of tight situations. His work-rate has been a real feature. He has given everything for the team and has a real selfless mindset.

‘I think there is more to come, he can continue to improve. He’ll be a huge player for us.’

Howe had watched Joelinton struggle during his first two seasons on Tyneside, but said: ‘When you watch a team from afar, you do have an opinion. I always liked him.

‘But now, working closely with him, I like him even more. You see the person and the human behind the player. What I see from him is just an incredible guy who really wants to do well.

‘Price tags are absolutely irrelevant. People put a value on players, and that is not the player’s fault. For me, Joelinton can be whatever he wants to be, he’s still young. I wouldn’t swap him.’

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