NEWCASTLE: Magpies manager Eddie Howe is convinced that Newcastle United’s man of the moment, Joelinton, can force his way into Brazil’s plans for the Qatar World Cup.
The former Hoffenheim, Rapid Wien and Sport Recife frontman has been redeployed as a midfielder by the head coach this season, and while Joelinton’s previous two and a half seasons at St. James’ Park proved to be patchy, at best, during the past three months he has proved himself to be undroppable.
Joelinton has not been capped by Brazil at any level above under-17, and the 25 year old has yet to be seriously mentioned as a contender for a spot in head coach Tite’s squad for the World Cup finals at the end of this year. However, Howe believes the sky is the limit for his No. 7.
Asked whether he has spoken to Joelinton about the possibility he might earn a place in the national team for the tournament, Howe said: “No. I haven’t. My mind is purely on here.”
But he added: “I would put no limits on Joe. It would be foolish of me to do so. He has shown what he can deliver on a consistent basis; he has done it week-in, week-out.”
The United faithful are well aware of this and have certainly embraced the Brazilian, adapting the Oasis song “She’s Electric” to his name and singing it loud and proud in his honor. He was once again in sensational form at the weekend, as Newcastle hung on to claim a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Brighton and Hove Albion.
“Joe has a knack of just getting a toe on things when we look like we are stretched,” said Howe. “Joe breaks the play up with those long legs of his.
“The tactical delivery is always going to be the hardest for him in that role, but again was of the highest level. A very good performance.”
One player who is already very much part of Brazil’s plans, but not yet a key part of Newcastle’s, is club-record signing Bruno Guimaraes. The midfielder was handed another late cameo appearance in the defeat of Brighton and impressed Howe with his work, even if some of it made the head coach a little nervous.
“In every cameo he has given so far, he has used the ball very well,” said Howe. “That’s him, he has shown what he will bring. A couple of lovely passes to Maxi; they have built a nice little relationship already.
“My heart was in my mouth, mind you, when he performed that little pirouette on the touchline. But that is Bruno: He is an out and out footballer. He also won the ball back for us at a couple of key moments, so that is it from a defensive perspective. He can certainly do a bit of everything.”
Howe also revealed how Allan Saint-Maximin reacted to being included only as a substitute in the squad that faced Brighton, having been a talismanic figure for the Magpies prior to a recent calf injury.
“His attitude was fine,” said Howe. “We have built up a good relationship in a short period of time. He only had one training session and the team has performed well in his absence. He came on and did very well.”