How Newcastle United's Bruno Guimaraes took centre stage on St James's Park unveiling and delighted Eddie Howe
The January signing was deservedly named man of the match following an accomplished midfield display to finally announce himself properly on Tyneside.
The Brazilian had to wait over two months to start a match at St James’s Park for Newcastle but it proved to be worth the wait as he quickly got his foot on the ball and brought his teammates into the game.
A neat exchange with Miguel Almiron looked to have set Chris Wood up for Newcastle’s opening goal only for VAR to rule it out for offside. A let off for Wolves, who were struggling to compete with the 24-year-old in the middle of the park.
Even in Guimaraes’ brief cameos for Newcastle, his willingness to get on the ball and take the game almost by the scruff of its neck at times has been there for all to see.
On Friday night he embraced the home crowd quite literally as he got a ball boy involved in celebrating Wood’s eventual winner from the penalty spot.
But he also used it as an opportunity to show the home crowd just what type of player they have on their hands here.
The calmness and swagger he brings to the midfield whenever or wherever he has the ball at his feet provides a refreshing change of pace albeit somewhat of a culture shock compared to what we’ve grown accustomed to at St James’s Park.
Newcaslte’s midfield limitations in recent years have produced high-panic, low-possession football and plenty of wayward passing. To see a player so composed and classy on the ball almost makes you nervous, but he excels where previous players would have lost the ball.
Guimaraes is a different calibre of player, one we should get used to at Newcastle in the coming years.
But as with any player arriving from Ligue 1 with no prior Premier League experience, there are always going to be question marks over how they adapt to the pace and physicality of the English top flight.
For every Yohan Cabaye there has been a Henri Saivet. Fortunately Guimaraes is in the same camp as the former.
Wolves posed a physical challenge on Friday night and Guimaraes not only stood up to it but seemed to relish getting stuck in against the experienced Joao Moutinho.
The Brazilian almost wrapped up a near perfect full home debut with a goal as well only for his second half effort to go just wide of the left post.
He left the pitch to a deserved standing ovation with a performance that seemed to delight not only the Newcastle fans, but Eddie Howe too.
“I thought he did very well in a difficult game,” said the United head coach. He showed real intelligence in possession in terms of his positioning and his desire to get on the ball is so strong.
"There is no fear in Bruno, he wants to get on the ball in every moment and that is, in part, why we love him so much.”