Report: Bruce considering new role for struggling star averaging 43% duel success

Steve Bruce has confirmed that he is considering a new role for Joelinton, as the Brazilian summer signing continues to struggle at Newcastle United.

Joelinton has penned just a single goal for the Toon since his £40million switch from Bundesliga side TSG Hoffenheim, with his sole effort coming against Tottenham Hotspur in August.

The 23-year-old Brazilian has not always had difficulties carving out the chances to end his goal drought, with the 6 ft 1 star hitting three shots against Aston Villa and four at home to AFC Bournemouth, as well as three against Brighton & Hove Albion and Arsenal earlier in the term.

However, each of his efforts at Villa Park last month sailed wide of the mark, while three of his four shots at home to the Cherries forced Aaron Ramsdale into action but failed to beat the 21-year-old.

If the drought persists for much longer without any clear signs of things improving, Bruce has conceded that he may have to hand Joelinton a new role to try and get the best out of the forward.

“We can speak with Joe all the time to try and help him. There’s no disputing that he’s finding it tough at the minute because of what goes with being Newcastle’s centre forward and a big price tag,” the boss said, via quotes by the Chronicle.

“He’s just got to keep working away and let’s hope we can try and keep encouraging him if we can. He has to get into the box more often. In that respect, you can see why half of his career was played to a side in a 4-3-3. When I saw him play live, he played on the left-hand side against Man City in the Champions League.

“You can understand it because half of his career he hasn’t been a natural centre forward so that might give me a bit of food for thought later to play him on the left as well if we’ve got a problem.”

Joelinton featured in 35 of Hoffenheim’s fixtures last term across all competitions, with 28 of his appearances coming as the designated centre-forward and three in a supporting role.

A further three of his outings also came on the right-wing, but only one came on the left – being the Champions League Group F tie against Manchester City that Bruce referred to.

Joelinton did not score or assist against the Sky Blues when he played at the Etihad Stadium last December, but he did record two assists when fielded on the right-hand side – coming against FC Augsburg and RB Leipzig.

As the designated centre-forward, he hit nine goals and six assists, while penning two goals and one assist in his three second-striker appearances.

Should Bruce change Joelinton’s position?

Yes, try him on the left

Yes, try him on the left

Yes, try him on the right

Yes, try him on the right

No, leave him at striker

No, leave him at striker

Bruce has so far only fielded Joelinton as a striker for the Toon, and saw the former Brazil U17 international record his only assist to date when we beat West Ham United 3-2 in November.

Joelinton has had difficulties creating chances for his teammates to score when played through the middle for us, with Sofa Score statistics showing an average of just 1.1 key passes per game and no big chances created as of yet.

Their stats also show that Joelinton has been successful with 62% of his dribbles, but just 43% of his total duels – with 40.2% ground duel success and 43.7% aerial duels won.

In other Newcastle United news, a £1.8m-rated first-team regular could sit out our trip to Sheffield United on Thursday night.

This article was originally posted here