Joelinton – a £ 40million acquisition from Hoffenheim in 2019 – was signed as a forward but struggled in front of goal, scoring just 10 times in 94 appearances across all competitions, prompting many reviews.
However, the 22-year-old has been brought back to midfield in recent weeks where he has excelled and this resulted in him being awarded the Man of the Match award on Monday night.
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And during the presentation of this distinction, his teammate Longstaff took his defense.
“We know how good Joelinton is and the disrespect he receives is a disgrace,” Longstaff began.
Every day in training he is the best player and if you bring him into your team in training you are in full swing because you will always win.
“He has since shown the manager what he looks like in training. Everyone at the club rates it so well. The noise from outside is so disrespectful and if you watch him enough you see how he’s good. I’m so happy for him and proud of him. “
The move to midfield could be a long-term change, manager Eddie Howe explained.
“We came down to 10 men against Norwich and reshuffled and played Joelinton like an eight and he was brilliant defensively,” Howe said.
“He has a tactical understanding. You saw tonight that he was brilliant defensively.
His pace of work and the amount of ground he covers is incredible. He’s a real team player. Such a capacity too. It can only get better.
“His technique and his ability to find space and control the ball in tight areas is top notch. I like the boy in pieces. I’m really glad he is performing so well.”
Newcastle remain second after United’s draw, two points behind Watford (17th) after having played three more games. The Red Devils remain seventh, seven points behind Arsenal, fourth.
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