As Newcastle United get their Premier League season underway on Sunday afternoon, Steve Bruce will have some big calls to make over his starting line-up.
The Magpies have only signed one new player in Joe Willock, and many of the manager’s options remain the squad which endured a disappointing campaign in the top-flight last term.
However, one man who will be hoping to finally get his Newcastle career going is Joelinton.
Should Joelinton start today?
The Brazilian has been nothing short of a disaster at St James’ Park since his big-money move from Hoffenheim, netting just ten goals in 80 games across all competitions, but pre-season has seen him hit a touch of form at the right time, which bodes well for the West Ham clash today and the rest of the campaign.
According to The Athletic‘s Chris Waugh: “Whisper it quietly, but Joelinton may finally start to deliver (to an extent) this season.
“Not to anywhere near the level of the £40 million Newcastle paid for him, but perhaps we need to completely forget about that ludicrous price tag and look at what he can actually offer.
“Well-placed sources believe that, with the Brazilian’s English improving and the No 9 shirt now on Wilson’s back instead of his, he has been a more confident and self-assured presence on the training ground. While he may not be an automatic starter in the strongest XI, Joelinton could yet contribute more than the six goals and four assists he has to show for 69 Premier League appearances so far…”
With Wilson now the main man tasked with leading the line for the Magpies, Joelinton may finally feel like he has a weight off his shoulders and can go about playing his own game without the added pressure of the number nine shirt.
Given that he’s shown some impressive signs in the last few weeks, Bruce would do well to capitalise and unleash the Brazilian against the Hammers later this afternoon.
The £17m-rated ace could kickstart Newcastle’s, and just as importantly, his own season with a bang today.