Joelinton has come under fire from a lot of Newcastle United fans this season – sometimes it’s been justified, other times a little bit harsh. Some fans have questioned not only the ability of Joelinton, but the willingness and effort he actually puts in for the team.
Yesterday afternoon, in another injury plagued 90 minutes for Steve Bruce’s side, the young Brazilian showed he DOES care and that he IS willing to put in the extra effort for his side.
Late in the first half, Joelinton picked up a groin injury. It looked as though lightning was to strike twice for Newcastle as two weeks prior, they lost four players to injury in one game and had to play the entire second half against Leicester with ten men.
Having been a part of that, and knowing that if he were to go off United risked that happening again, Joelinton told boss Steve Bruce he wanted to carry on, and played on until the 78th minute.
Surely, that has to be at least a step in the right direction for those fans at St James’ Park who have been asking for extra effort from the Brazilian. Playing through an injury for the benefit of your team takes guts and desire – or as Steve Bruce said, “courage”.
Unfortunately, Joelinton wasn’t able to impact the game all that much having been moved into the central lone striker role following the injury to Dwight Gayle. He’s been largely ineffective in that role all season, and Bruce was hoping a move to the right wing would help unlock his true talent at Molineux.
The striker didn’t manage any shots at goal during the game, and only completed a single dribble all game long – something he normally does pretty well. He did, however, win a team high of four aerial duels, continuing on in the same vein he has all season. Joelinton currently leads the team and is third in the entire Premier League for aerial duels won this season with 112.
When he’s back to his full fitness, it perhaps will be in Joelinton’s best interest to up his intensity levels on the pitch that slight bit. At Newcastle, poor form can be forgiven if you’re giving your absolute all for the shirt every single week.
At the moment, United fans feel Joelinton isn’t doing that, so if he can do a little more running and a little more closing down, he may yet win back the support of those fans who have criticised him so heavily.