Steve Bruce has insisted he never considered allowing Newcastle’s struggling £40million record signing Joelinton to leave the club this summer.
The 24-year-old Brazilian striker suffered an intensely difficult first season on Tyneside, managing just four goals and only two of them in the Premier League, and it was no surprise when the Magpies invested a further £20million in the tried and tested quality of Callum Wilson earlier this month.
However, after seeing Joelinton help himself to a double in Wednesday night’s 7-0 Carabao Cup rout of League Two Morecambe, the second of them a raking strike from distance, Bruce insisted he was always part of his plans and is convinced he and his coaches can get the best out of him.
He said: “Joe will benefit from the fact that he understands it now a little better than he did and he understands what’s coming.
“I think he still has improvement in him – he’s young enough – so I had no intention of letting Joe go anywhere.
“We have to keep working with him and certainly the little bit of confidence by scoring a couple of goals the other night will certainly help him because, when you’re constantly kicked, then sometimes it can bash away at you and nobody is immune to that.
“We’ll keep supporting him and keep trying to make him confident because we know there’s a player in there. We have to go to somehow find it and get the best out of him.”
Joelinton has been used only as a substitute in the first two league games of the new campaign and may have to bide his time as he waits for another chance with Wilson and either Miguel Almiron or Andy Carroll more likely to get the nod at Tottenham on Sunday.
However Bruce, who is aware of the difficulties overseas players face when they move to a different country, is prepared to wait.
He said: “I remember the Manchester United lads telling me about (Juan Sebastian) Veron, when Manchester United signed him and he came on to the training ground. ‘What a player’, they said.
“Now, it’s fair to say that he never hit the heights that maybe all the players at Manchester United thought about at the time because they all thought he was the best player they’d ever worked with, and it didn’t quite happen for him.
“Sometimes these things happen. It is very, very difficult.”