The battler from Brazil: How Joelinton turned his Newcastle United career around

Newcastle United midfielder Joelinton has been named player of the year by the Magpies' Disabled Supporter Association.

He won the award off the back of an impressive start to the season, helping Newcastle climb to fourth in the Premier League. But even more remarkable than their current position in the table, is how Joelinton has turned his career with the Magpies around.

After signing for £40m from 1899 Hoffenheim, he admits he struggled, with the weight of the famous number nine shirt heavy for the new arrival.

Now in his fourth season with the Magpies, he credits hard work with his turnaround in fortunes.

Joelinton said: "Since day one, I come here to a lot of love. The people, sometimes they don't understand when you are the number nine and don't score and the team is not going well, but the people here still came to me. But like I said, I always try to be positive because the only way we can change things and that was what I did.

"I kept my mind positive. I always have the help from my teammates, everyone from the club, my family and for me, that's the most important time and I try to do my best every day."

Seeing Joelinton mix with supporters gives you an idea of the kind of player he is. One who not only cares about his club but its large fanbase too.

During the Newcastle United Disabled Supporters Association's annual awards, he took time to visit every table, giving those fans who wanted them big hugs and thanking them for their support.

He said this is one of the best things about being a professional footballer. Being able to give back to supporters who he says show him love and support all the time.

Joelinton spent time with supporters at St James' Park after collecting his Player of the Year award Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

"It feels good. I'm very happy to receive this. It means people, the fans see what you're doing on the pitch. How much work you put in there and I always try to do my best for the club, and I'm very happy," added Joelinton.

Naming the Magpies number seven was an easy decision for the Disabled Supporters Association.

Chairman Joe Ayton said: "I think it's just that never say die spirit. Because he had a difficult start when he first came to the club. But now he's very much found his role. And he never gave up.

"He never gave up that dream of playing in a black and white shirt and playing for Newcastle when a lot of other players might have said, no, this isn't going to work for me.

"He really wanted it to work. And I think the fans in general and our members have responded to that, just that never say die spirit and the fact he's such a nice guy and the club means a lot to him, obviously."

  • Watch Joelinton talk about receiving his award as Player of the Year

On Sunday, Newcastle face Southampton away, looking to keep their good form going. They have only lost one game so far this season. Joelinton will not travel with the team as he is suspended for the game.

He said: "We are doing very well. Good week of training, we are doing well, we are happy. I will support them from home, I wish the guys the best and I hope they can bring the three points back home."

Many supporters are dreaming about Newcastle finishing the season in the top four and securing Champions League football at St James' Park.

  • Watch Joelinton talk about Newcastle United's season so far

"Why not?" Joelinton said when asked if the Magpies can finish in the top four at the end of the season.

That confidence is one of the reasons why his form has improved so dramatically, leading to his award from the Disabled Supporters Association.

You suspect if his hard work and good performances for Newcastle continue, it won't be the last award he wins.