ESPN Brasil features this week an interview with Newcastle United striker Joelinton, who’s now having his second year in the Premier League.
Even though the Brazilian only has one goal in the competition this season, he’s now part of a promising attacking duo with Callum Wilson, and spoke about it with reporter João Castello Branco.
“He’s a striker who improves my game a lot, because he’s a reference striker”, Joelinton told ESPN Brasil.
“They always put me as a reference striker for being tall, strong, but I like to play a little free, to get out, move and have the space to receive the ball. And he does it well, he defends well with two defenders, he holds the ball well, so I think it helps a lot in my game.”
With only seven goals in 58 games, the numbers may make it look like Joelinton hasn’t been good enough for Newcastle. However, the player finds some similarities with Roberto Firmino, who’s also arrived from Hoffenheim and despite being a good striker, isn’t a regular scorer.
“I think that, from the striker, we demand a lot of goals. That’s what the fans want, but when you understand a little of the game, you see that the attacker has a defending function, to start the pressure ahead to help the team, to hold the two defenders, to make room for someone who comes from behind, do one-two, hold the ball.”
“There’s a lot that a striker can do without scoring a goal and be very important to the team. I think I did that a lot at Hoffenheim, Firmino also when he played there, and at Liverpool he continued his game. I think you can do both. Certainly the goal must come to crown a good match, but if you play a good game, help your team, assist, it’s also very important.”
Quizzed about the best defender he’s faced in the league, Joelinton goes for the same answers as most players, and picked Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk.
“Van Dijk. There are many others, the difference here for me at the beginning in relation to Germany is that the players, the defenders are very strong, you have to be well prepared, but I think Van Dijk was the most difficult to face. He’s strong, fast, technically good, smart.”
Now despite being in England for over an year, Joelinton still hasn’t had anyone pronounce his name correctly, as he’s often referred to as Joe Linton, or just Joe.
“Since I arrived in Europe, people have tried to say my name, but until today they never speak correctly. They call me all kinds, but the right pronunciation hasn’t succeeded yet .”