Relegation-threatened Newcastle secured a valuable point on Monday evening after holding Manchester United to a 1-1 draw at St. James’ Park – thanks in no small part to a Man of the Match performance from Joelinton.
Having been recruited by the Magpies from Hoffenheim for a fee of £40 million in June 2019, hopes were high that the Brazilian forward would be the answer to the club’s goalscoring woes.
With just 11 goals to his name in 99 appearances since, it’s fair to say that the 29-year-old has fallen considerably short of those expectations – and has attracted plenty of criticism because of it.
Despite his issues in front of goal, one thing that has routinely stood out about the club’s record signing is his work rate.
Joelinton was forced into a central midfield role after Newcastle were reduced to 10-men against Norwich last month and entered an impressive display in the role under difficult circumstances.
Newcastle boss Eddie Howe clearly liked what he saw, quickly opting to deploy Joelinton in the centre of the park moving forward – and it’s proved an inspired decision.
Per BBC Sport, the newly-christened midfielder touched the ball on 63 occasions against United (more than any of his teammates). He also played the most passes, created the most chances and carried the ball forward the furthest for his side.
Given his contribution, it was no surprise to see Joelinton named Man of the Match at end of the game.
What did catch many fans off guard, though, was the savage comment that Sky Sports’ Patrick Davison interviewer chose to open the post-match presentation with.
“So, Joelinton, can I be completely honest? I didn’t realise you were that good,” Davison said, with the player standing just feet away.
To his credit, as you’ll see in the video below, Joelinton took the swipe with incredible grace and continued on with the interview. We suspect many others would not have been so accomodating.
Watch: Interviewer takes brutal dig at Joelinton after Newcastle 1-1 Man Utd
Users on Twitter were swift to slam the interview, as many leapt to Joelinton’s defence.
“How can you start the interview with ‘I didn’t realise you were that good?’ So rude,” complained one supporter.
“What a disrespectful thing to say to a professional footballer,” agreed another.
Can you name which club these 15 former Newcastle players started their professional careers at?
“Cheeky p****. Joelinton should’ve walked off,” declared a third response.
“Credit to Joe[linton], he was immensely graceful under such line of questioning,” stated a further reply.
“The reporter should have done better,” wrote a final fan, summing up the general feeling towards the incident.
Longstaff brands Joelinton disrespect a ‘disgrace’
Joelinton’s midfield partner Sean Longstaff, however, ending the interview in a fantastic fashion by blasting those who have been negative towards his colleague.
“We know how good Joelinton is and the disrespect he gets is a disgrace,” admitted Longstaff.
“Every day in training he’s the best player and if you get him on your team in training you’re buzzing because you’ll always win.
“He’s shown since the manager came in what he’s been like in training. Everyone at the club rates him so highly. The noise from outside is so disrespectful and if you watch him enough you see how good he is. I’m so happy for him and proud of him.”
Newcastle 1-1 Man Utd – Reaction (Football Terrace)
Newcastle’s point against United sees them move to within two points of safety in the Premier League table, although 17th-placed Watford now have three games in hand over the Magpies owing to COVID-19 postponements.
The North East outfit are expected to be incredibly busy in the January transfer window following their takeover by a Saudi-led consortium back in October – and it’s no exaggeration to say that many currently at the club might be playing for their futures.
Joelinton couldn’t have picked a better time to find his stride at Newcastle.