Steve Bruce insists he never considered cashing in on £40m record signing Joelinton this summer – and wants his critics to “see the positives” in the Brazilian striker.
Joelinton showed his potential with two goals in the Carabao Cup against League Two Morecambe in midweek, his second a cracker, and is pushing to be involved at Spurs on Sunday.
White Hart Lane was the scene of his best moment last August when he grabbed the winner. His only other league goal was against Sheffield United in June.
Bruce believes there is “definitely a player” in Joelinton and says Newcastle can “unlock” his ability and give him “confidence” rather than “hitting him with a stick”.
Bruce said: “There was no temptation (to sell him). We saw the other day, the goal he scored, that gives you a clue to his ability. I see it on the training ground. The thing he has to come to terms with, is adapting to the Premier League, which some great players have struggled with.
“Joe understands it more now. He still has improvement in him, he is young enough. I had no intention of letting him go anywhere. We have to work with him. That bit of confidence from scoring the other night will help.
“When you are constantly kicked then sometimes it bashed away at you and no one is immune to that. We will support him and find it and get the best out of him.
“The Man U lads told me about Juan Sebastian Veron. What a player on the training ground. They all thought he was the best they’d worked with but he never hit the heights the Man U players thought because.
“Adapting to England and the food and weather is very very difficult. The more they are here and get used to England, help them. He will turn into a really big player for us.
“We just want him confident. This constant hitting him with a stick, I hope he doesn’t read the nonsense of social media. I’ll remind him of what a good player he is.”
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Newcastle need to bounce back from their terrible 0-3 loss to Brighton last weekend. Allan Saint-Maximin (ankle) and Jamal Lewis (eye) are doubts, and Cairan Clark is out (thigh).
Jacob Murphy is now back in Bruce’s plans after last season on loan at Sheffield Wednesday. Bruce added: “Since we have come back he has not missed a day and been decent in the warm up games and all along I have been pleased with his progress. The loan to Sheffield has helped him. He has grasped the opportunity.”
United owner Mike Ashley has posted accounts for his MASH Holdings, showing Newcastle had a turnover of £181.5m until April last year. His empire, including Sports Direct, has revenues of £3.9bn, and £488m cash in the bank. Newcastle United made up just 4.5pc of his revenue.
Has Joelinton got what it takes to succeed at Newcastle? Have your say below.
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