Former Newcastle manager Steve Bruce claims £40m striker was never a ‘natural goalscorer’

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Steve Bruce reflected on his Newcastle exit in an interview with former Magpies boss Sam Allardyce

Ex-Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce claims his former number nine striker was never a “natural goalscorer” despite the £40m price tag.

Bruce was reflecting on his time as manager of the Magpies in an episode of No Tippy Tappy Football which is presented by William Hill. The podcast is hosted by former Newcastle and Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce.

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Bruce reflects on his relationship with fan favourite Joelinton, who arrived in 2019 as a club-record signing from Hoffenheim. 

The Brazilian inherited the number nine shirt upon his arrival at the club and was the first player to break the transfer record in 14 years after Michael Owen’s arrival from Real Madrid in 2005.

Despite the price tag Bruce claims he instantly knew that the Brazilian would struggle to score goals.

Bruce said: “I knew Joelinton wasn’t a natural goalscorer. When I was in charge I picked Joelinton every week, but I knew from the moment he joined the club that he wasn’t a natural goalscorer.

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“As soon as you put the number nine shirt on someone at Newcastle they’ve got a lot to live up to, but when he played in Germany he played on the left-hand side of a front three. I watched him play against Manchester City once and he played on the left.”

Bruce claims that the deal to sign Joelinton had already been completed before his arrival. The former Manchester United skipper admitted that he had never thought to play him in the central midfield area, but has praised the decision by Eddie Howe.

Bruce added: “The big thing I had to consider was the fact that he had come in as a £40 million player, the biggest signing in years for Newcastle, and he had the number nine shirt, but he wasn’t a natural goalscorer.

“We played him predominantly on the left and I have to be honest in saying that I never thought of playing him in midfield but he’s excelled there. In midfield, the onus isn’t on him to score the goals and if you look at his records from when he was younger he is not a prolific goalscorer, but he’s a brilliant footballer and a great lad with a great attitude.”

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Where will Newcastle finish?

Steve Bruce would not be surprised if Newcastle finish in the top four again. (YouTube)Steve Bruce would not be surprised if Newcastle finish in the top four again. (YouTube)
Steve Bruce would not be surprised if Newcastle finish in the top four again. (YouTube) | YouTube

Steve Bruce has praised Newcastle’s business in the summer transfer window and claims the club are once again in good shape to compete for Champions League football.

However, Bruce also claims that the club are likely to face tougher competition at the top end of the table due to the recruitment of Chelsea and Liverpool.

Bruce said: “I wouldn’t be surprised if Newcastle managed to finish in the top four again this season. They are going to have more competition for it this year because you would expect Liverpool and Chelsea to both be better than they were last year. I think they have bought really well again and they’ve had a good start to the season, so we’ll have to wait and see.

“St James’ Park has transformed from when I was there. You can see the sell-out crowds and the flags waving and all the rest of it; it’s a really difficult place for anybody to go and get a result.”

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