Joelinton knows goals not talk will relieve the pressure of the Newcastle No.9 – even though the £35million man is relaxed about wearing the 'historic' shirt

Newcastle United’s Joelinton is happy to carry the burden of being the club’s record signing – and wear the famous No.9 on his back.

Thursday, 15th August 2019, 06:00 am
NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - AUGUST 11: Joelinton of Newcastle United arrives at the stadium prior to the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Arsenal FC at St. James Park on August 11, 2019 in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

The Brazilian became United’s record purchase earlier this summer, when he arrived in a deal worth an initial £35million from Bundesliga outfit Hoffenheim.

It’s a price tag that concern many, but not the relaxed 23-year-old frontman – although he admits it is something he understands, and evaluates frequently.

“At times, I think a lot about it,” he said of his transfer fee and expectation that comes with the shirt.

“But I just need to focus on working hard as I've always done. From my first club to arriving here, I've always worked hard and fought, so that's what I look to do.

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“Stuff about transfer values and the press, I like to leave off the pitch. I know my responsibilities, and look to meet my objectives through hard work.”

Joelinton made his United bow against Arsenal and came within a whisker of opening his competitive account – it was an experience he relished.

“I think all players want to play in big games, against the best players and the big clubs. It increases the desire, but I'm driven just by being here,” he said.

“I know it is difficult at the start with people talking about the No.9 shirt. It has such importance at the club as it was used by legends. It is normal for people to make comparisons and add to the pressure.

“I'm relaxed about it - if I score lots of goals there won't be many questions about it.

“I am not here to take over from anybody, I just hope to contribute to this club, its history and bring joy to the fans.”

The frontman – who has trodden a similar path to Liverpool’s Champions League winning striker, and countryman, Roberto Firmino – knows it goals on the park, and not talk off it, that will help him write his name in the history books for the right reasons.

“Playing well and scoring boosts your confidence for the day-to-day training and upcoming matches,” he said ahead of this weekend’s trip to Norwich City.

“I also think it boosts your teammates' belief in you - they'll give you the ball more. Playing and scoring in those games (pre-season) was important.

“I've been made very welcome by everybody at the club, all my teammates. As the days go by things get better and you get to know the people around you, the other players, and that's really good as you can take this familiarity and trust on to the pitch.”

Portuguese is Joelinton’s mother tongue – but his English is improving.

While some players struggle to adapt and give little thought to breaking the language barrier, Joelinton understands the importance.

“I still need to improve a lot - I need to learn English to improve my communication with other players. I think it's really important to speak the language as you're able to express yourself better,” said the striker.

“But I am a very relaxed guy, and wherever I've been before I've always looked to make friends quickly. I'm very open, I like to chat to everybody and listen to those around me. I think my personality helps me to settle in with the other players and people around me start to feel at home in the city.”

Joelinton may well feel at home in the city, but he won’t truly be able to call it home, until his family is over from Germany with him.

“We are looking into ways for them to come here as it is important to me,” he said.

“I really miss them. It's good to come on your at first in order to find an apartment and focus on the club and get to know your teammates. Once I'm more settled in the city, them being here will help me a lot.

“I've got an apartment in the city centre. Since I arrived I'm always going out to eat, mostly in the city centre, although there are many places still to explore. I've been to Babucho, Piccolino and St James's Park, of course.”

Moving away from home is not something totally alien to the player – having left his home in Alianca at the age of just 14 to sign for Sport Recife in Brazil.

Drive is something the Brazilian youth international certainly does not lack.

“It is difficult to say whether I was ready or not, I was very young but it was what I'd always wanted,” he said of his first move into football as a teenager.

“I'd always dreamed of being a footballer and this was the opportunity to go to Sport Recife. I went full of desire and very happily as it was chasing my dream.

“Recife isn't too far from Alianca, so I'd see my parents every weekend - either I'd go there or they'd come and visit me in Recife.

“You learn a lot living on your own and I think this has helped me today to be a more responsible person.”

He might appear comfortable in front of goal, but he admits one thing he will never get used to is being in front of the cameras or the microphones – although he understands the public desire to hear from him.

“I don't really like giving interviews but I know it is part of the job. I try to relax and answer the questions I feel comfortable with,” he said.

“It helps being able to do interviews in my native language. I was prepared for it (status as new record signing).

“I imagined that would be the case, due to the price and being the club's record transfer. I was relaxed about it and knew there would be some pressure at the start.

“The press were going to want to know who this player is, the fans as well. But up until now it's been really relaxed, and I hope to continue playing well and scoring lots of goals to help Newcastle United.”