'He’s only a kid': Steve Bruce defends under-fire Newcastle United player
Steve Bruce says Joelinton is “only a kid” – and WILL come good.
The striker has laboured up front since joining Newcastle United in a club-record £40million deal last summer.
Joelinton – who has only scored one goal so far this season – failed to convert the chances that came his way in Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Rochdale in the FA Cup.
The 23-year-old was handed the No.9 jersey at the club after signing from Hoffenheim – and Bruce feels that he's struggling with the demands that come with the shirt.
However, Bruce remains convinced that Joelinton can make a success of his move to St James’s Park.
“It’s a heavy load,” said United's head coach. “To play for Newcastle United is a heavy load. Full stop.
“There’s an expectation on you, and it dawns on your very quickly when you’re the No.9 and price-tag then that bears on him.
“He has to keep working at it, and he’s the same age as (Sean) Longstaff. He’s only a kid. He’ll learn from this. He’ll have to get on with it and keep trying. That’s all I can ask. Of course, I believe in him – I pick him every week.”
Joelinton’s only goal for Newcastle came against Tottenham Hotspur in late August.
“It’s an accumulation,” said Bruce. “Until he goes and hits the back of the net, goes and wins a game for us again like he did at Spurs, then unfortunately the questions will keep being asked and it snowballs. It goes on and on.
“A bit of confidence, this that and the other. I will keep saying to him that he just has to keep going and hope it will drop for him and he sticks it away. I thought the one he hits with his left foot was a goal, and then the game is over.
“They wouldn’t have got back from there, and as long as it was 1-0 it gave them hope.”
Newcastle take on Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League at Molineux on Saturday.