Sean Longstaff has leapt to the defence of team-mate Joelinton after the forward-turned-midfielder was awarded man of the match in Newcastle’s 1-1 draw with Manchester United.
Joelinton – a £40 million acquisition from Hoffenheim in 2019 – was signed as a striker but has struggled in front of goal, scoring just 10 times in 94 appearances in all competitions, leading to widespread criticism.
However, the 22-year-old has been dropped back into midfield in recent weeks where he has excelled and that culminated in him receiving the man of the match award on Monday night.
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And during the award of said accolade, his team-mate Longstaff leapt to his defence.
"We know how good Joelinton is and the disrespect he gets is a disgrace,” began Longstaff.
Every day in training he's the best player and if you get him on your team in training you're buzzing because you'll always win.
"He's shown since the manager came in what he's been like in training. Everyone at the club rates him so highly. The noise from outside is so disrespectful and if you watch him enough you see how good he is. I'm so happy for him and proud of him."
The move to midfield could be a long-term change explained his manager Eddie Howe.
"We went down to 10 men against Norwich and reshuffled and played Joelinton as an eight and he was brilliant defensively," said Howe.
"He has a tactical understanding. You've seen tonight he's been brilliant defensively.
His work-rate and the amount of ground he covers is incredible. He's a real team player. Such ability as well. He can only get better.
"His technique and ability to find space and control the ball in tight areas is of the highest level. I love the lad to bits. I'm really glad he's performing so well."
Newcastle remain second-from-bottom after the United draw, some two points shy of Watford in 17th having played three more games. The Red Devils remain seventh, seven points off Arsenal in fourth.
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