The 'truly incredible' thing about Joelinton and the 'beauty' of Bruno Guimaraes at Newcastle United
Joelinton has only scored once for United so far this season but he has quickly emerged as a fan favourite following Howe’s decision to move the 25-year-old into a deeper midfield role.
The Brazilian has flourished in the centre of the park and has averaged more tackles per game (4.5) than any other midfield player in the Premier League so far this season.
But Howe has refrained from labelling Joelinton as a midfielder, despite his proficiency in the role.
“I see Joelinton as an attacker,” he said in his pre-match press conference. “I wouldn't put a label on him as a midfielder, he's an attacker who is playing in an attacking midfield position at the moment.
"He's obviously played in lots of different positions for the club. He's played wide but I think his natural instinct is that he wants to create and attack."
Joelinton has recently been nursing a groin injury after being forced off against Leeds United last month. But he was able to get through the full 90 minutes in Tuesday night’s 3-1 win against Everton and is in contention to feature against Aston Villa on Sunday (2pm kick-off).
“What has impressed me most about him is that his defensive awareness has just been truly incredible,” Howe added.
"And his workrate for the team, you look the other day [against Everton] and I think he only trained for three or four days out of the two-and-a-half weeks that we'd missed since our last game and physically you wouldn't have known that.
"I thought he was immense again from that perspective so I can't compliment him enough on that.”
One player who could be handed his full Newcastle debut against Aston Villa at St James’s Park is £33.3million January signing Bruno Guimaraes. The 24-year-old came off the bench in the final moments of the match on Tuesday but is expected to play a more prominent role for The Magpies this weekend.
Discussing what role Guimaraes will play in Newcastle’s team, Howe continued: “Bruno can play in any position in the midfield.
"He can play as an 8, as a 6, as a double 6 next to Jonjo [Shelvey]. I think that's the beauty of him and why we loved him so much because he adds versatility in midfield so it creates a really nice pressure on everybody in the team to perform because we have very good players.
"I could go back to Sean Longstaff as well with how he's played in recent weeks where we've got really healthy pressure and competition for places in that midfield area.”
Newcastle currently sit 17th in the Premier League table following back to back league wins against Leeds and Everton and will be looking to pick up a third straight league win for the first time since 2018 as they look to move further away from the relegation zone.
But they could find themselves back in the bottom three by the time they kick-off on Sunday should Watford beat Brighton or Norwich City beat Manchester City on Saturday.