Eddie Howe reveals how Newcastle United's Joelinton's surprised him

Joelinton was brought to Newcastle United to score goals.

But the £40million signing is doing as much as any of his team-mates to stop the opposition scoring.

Joelinton – who wore the No.9 jersey in his first season at the club – has been converted into a No.8 by Eddie Howe following a stint there following Ciaran Clark’s dismissal against Norwich City in late November.

Asked if he had been aware of the defensive side to his game when he joined the club, Howe said: “I think I’d be lying if I said I knew he was capable of that.

Joelinton warms up at the King Power Stadium in December.

“The first time I was aware of his tactical understanding, and how high that was the Norwich game, when we changed to a 4-3-2 shape. He played as No.8 that day.

“Obviously, we spent a long time after the sending off without the ball. His delivery of what we asked him to do was at the very highest level. That’s with very minimal tactical instruction from me.

“Then, when you actually get the chance to actually work with him on the training ground in terms of that position, again, his delivery of what we’ve asked him to do has been excellent.

"I do feel, defensively, he’s added a lot to the team if you look at his number of regains from second balls and his ability to cover long distances.

“His tackling and intercepting of the ball has been of the highest level. I can’t praise him enough on that side, and there’s more to come. There’s exciting times ahead for him in that position.”

Asked if Joelinton was now a midfield “enforcer”, Howe said: “He’s got a bit of everything, and I think that’s the beauty of him. I don’t think he’s one-dimensional.

"He can do all the defensive stuff, but also you look at him technically in tight areas, and his ability to manipulate the ball and get out of tight areas, he’s got that gift to find a way out, an escape route, and switch the ball with his right foot across the pitch.

"He’s been a huge weapon for us.”

Relegation-threatened Newcastle take on West Ham United at the London Stadium this afternoon.

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