Steve Bruce has insisted £40million record buy Joelinton has a future at Newcastle United next season – but must develop a selfish goalscoring streak.
The Newcastle boss is planning for next term and has reiterated his desire to sign £20m rated Arsenal young midfielder Joe Willock.
And Bruce has also admitted transfer interest in French winger Allan Saint-Maximin is “inevitable” but he has five years left on his contract and rivals are likely to be priced out of a deal.
Bruce wants Newcastle to reach 44 points – last season's total – during the run in and says in-form Joelinton must build on his recent goals.
Bruce said: “He has had it tough, let's be brutally honest. A lot of that comes with the price tag, which he didn't set.
“He has to get into his psyche, no matter how you play as a striker you are judged on goals. Joe hasn't got that. He is a team player and that is the way he is. He has to adapt. He has to get that selfish mentality a striker has.
“He won't give up. A lot of people would have “took the water in” as they used to say. He stays with it, trains, works, is really popular in the dressing room. I hope he can get that mindset to score more often.
“He is young and has had two years in the Premier League now.
"He has learned what it is and how difficult it is.”
Joelinton said: “The psychological aspects are important for us players. If you are feeling confident things happen more naturally.
“It's difficult to talk about. I've had some difficult moments and good times. I hope to be consistent over future seasons because that makes you more confident and happy in the rest of your life away from the pitch. But I always say I am happy here. I have been made so welcome.
“I know I have to repay the faith of all the fans who have shown affection and made me welcome.
“We had a meeting today and were told Newcastle had not won at Anfield for 27 years, so to do that would be incredible.”
Bruce said he wants to land Willock in the summer adding: “He is young, fit, athletic and has a big future. There are lots of conversations to be had. He has thoroughly enjoyed it.
“He enjoyed the adulation of scoring. He has got three vital goals for us. Why wouldn't we want him?
"He is as quick as anyone at the club. We have to talk to Arsenal.
"If we can do something I would love to do it.”
Saint-Maximin is fit to face Liverpool after taking a kick on the ankle and Callum Wilson is available.
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