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Steve Bruce: 'Joelinton is a big physical animal'

Steve Bruce: 'Joelinton is a big physical animal'
© Reuters
The Brazilian opened his account at Tottenham.

Newcastle head coach Steve Bruce is backing £40million striker Joelinton to get to grips with life in the Premier League after being thrown in at the deep end.

The 23-year-old summer signing from Hoffenheim has been handed the role of leading the line for the Magpies and while he has impressed with his overall play and commitment, he has registered only one goal to date, a winner at Tottenham last month.

However, Bruce is confident he will make a significant impact once he has found his feet in English football.

He said: "He's young – and so is Allan Saint-Maximin as well – and to be fair to him, new country, Premier League, the number nine... He'll be fine, he'll be fine.

"Last week, like all of them, they found it difficult, and he did, but I've got no problem that he will be a very, very decent player.

"We have to get better service to him, I understand that too, and we've been a little bit hamstrung in terms of personnel to play with him, but I'm sure he'll get better."

Joelinton's robust style has not been lost on opposition managers and he has found himself on the receiving end on several occasions with defenders doing their best to unsettle him.

Bruce, a distinguished defender during his own playing days, has no problem with that and is confident the Brazilian does not either.

He said: "Listen, he plays that way too, he is a big physical animal, isn't he? He enjoys that side of it, that's not going to be a problem."

Bruce's confidence is based in part on his performance and the way he took his goal at Tottenham, and cites the build-up play which led to that breakthrough as evidence of the issues the striker is facing.

He said: "The thing about Tottenham, when we scored the goal, we strung 16 passes together, so it all comes with that. At Tottenham, our possession stats weren't great, but our pass completion was good, and I think that's what we have got to aim at.

"He's a target man, he plays that way as a target man – he's played that way all his life. That's his natural game.

"But left foot and right foot as a finisher, then he's very decent when he gets in front of goal. We have to create more chances for him – we don't cross it enough either, if I'm being brutally honest."

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