Newcastle United star saddened by team-mate’s World Cup heartache
There were hopes another Magpies star could have been starring in Qatar over the next six weeks.
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There had been some speculation the former Hoffenheim forward would claim a place alongside the likes of Neymar, Vinicius Junior and Thiago Silva as a reward for his remarkable form over the last 12 months. That is all a far cry from his first two years on Tyneside as Joelinton struggled to adapt to the intensity and pace of the Premier League.
An unexpected switch into midfield, and the arrival of current Magpies manager Eddie Howe, signalled an upturn in fortunes as the 26-year-old suddenly became a key cog in an ever-improving United side. Eye-catching displays against Manchester United and Leeds United hinted a more long-term move into the heart of Howe’s side could lie in wait.
That has proven to be the case as Joelinton’s energy, work-rate and quality has transformed not only his own performance, but that of his side as the Magpies raced away from the relegation zone to secure a mid-table finish. A promising start to the current season raised hopes of a first international call-up and those hopes were further raised when Brazil coach Tite watched Joelinton score in United’s recent 4-0 win against Aston Villa.
However, his name was absent from a star-studded 26-man Selecao squad when Tite’s final selection was confirmed last week - and that brought an emotional reaction out of Magpies team-mate Bruno. Speaking in the club’s matchday programme, Bruno said: “I hoped Joelinton would be in the squad with me. He’s a great player, playing really well here at Newcastle. He’s a player who has helped me a lot since I arrived. We have a great friendship and I see him as my brother. I’m sad for him, but he’s still young and he’ll have other opportunities to play in other World Cups.
“I don’t think it will affect his career – he knows how to handle it. Of course I’m sad for him, but he can think about the next World Cup and continue doing what he’s been doing as he contributes so much here at Newcastle.”
Bruno will get his World Cup campaign underway on Thursday when Brazil face Serbia in their opening Group G fixture.