Aleksandar Mitrovic has spoken of the "big problem" he faced during his spell at Newcastle United.

Elsewhere, the Magpies have signed a teenage forward and Steve Bruce has addressed criticism of Joelinton.

Here are your top Newcastle United headlines for February 21:

Mitrovic on Magpies' spell

Aleksandar Mitrovic has revealed the pressure of leading the line for Newcastle United came too early for him during his career.

The Serbian international forward spent two-and-a-half seasons on Tyneside and proved to be a divisive figure at the club.

The 25-year-old scored nine goals in his first season at the club but the Magpies were relegated from the Premier League and his disciplinary issues left a lot to be desired.

Newcastle United in 2019: Rafa Benitez's final game as Newcastle manager saw the Magpies run out as comfortable winners over Fulham - who included Aleksandar Mitrovic in their side
Newcastle United in 2019: Rafa Benitez's final game as Newcastle manager saw the Magpies run out as comfortable winners over Fulham - who included Aleksandar Mitrovic in their side

When Rafa Benitez took charge of Newcastle, he quickly decided he couldn't trust Mitrovic and he fell below Dwight Gayle in the pecking order.

Mitrovic joined Fulham on loan in the winter of 2018 and made that move permanent in the summer.

The former Anderlecht star has scored 44 goals in 89 appearances for the Cottagers and while Newcastle's frontline is struggling for goals, Mitrovic is currently the Championship's top scorer.

Mitrovic has learned to deal with the burden of being the club's leading goalscorer, something that was a 'big problem' for him at Newcastle.

Bruce on Joelinton

Steve Bruce has lifted the lid on the growing concerns surrounding £40million striker Joelinton.

The uncapped Brazilian is close to going 2,000 Premier League minutes without a goal and fans are asking questions of the summer signing.

Newcastle United player Joelinton in action against Arsenal at the Emirates

Bruce has tried everything with the 23-year-old from public support to putting an arm around him behind the scenes, not to mention tweaking service options.

Bruce said: "The great strikers, the goalscorers, all they're interested in is scoring a goal - Joe is not like that. He is more a team player.

United doubts on Soumare

Newcastle United have doubts about revisiting a move for Boubakary Soumare in the summer after the Lille youngster turned down the Magpies last month.

The black-and-whites started planning for the mid-season window in September and identified Soumare, a dynamic midfielder who impressed in the Champions League group stages, as their number one target.

Christophe Galtier talks to Boubakary Soumare during the Ligue 1 match between Lille OSC and Paris Saint-Germain at Stade Pierre Mauroy on January 26

Newcastle received positive noises from Soumare's camp so were more concerned about whether Lille would welcome their bid, an initial £35m with add-ons, because the Ligue 1 side would not have much time to sign a replacement.

Lille, however, accepted Newcastle's big-money offer and a plane was booked for Bruce and club officials to go and meet Soumare. Ultimately, the jet did not take off after the 20-year-old decided to keep his options open ahead of the summer.

Inside 'hairy' flight

Steve Bruce has insisted that there is still plenty of togetherness in the Newcastle United dressing room despite suggestions of a split camp after the heavy defeat at Arsenal.

Some fans and observers felt that the sight of some players travelling by train and others on the team flight hinted at a fall out behind the scenes at United.

Still from the video of a confrontation between NUFC players and a fan
Still from the video of a confrontation between NUFC players and a fan

But Bruce has moved to quash such talk and says the that the mood in the Toon dressing room is in a good place ahead of the journey to Crystal Palace.

The backlash of the 4-0 defeat at Arsenal has been fierce with some players unhappy at the level of criticism, but Bruce knows there is only one way to reply to any doubters.

Gayle and Muto to return?

Dwight Gayle is ready to face Crystal Palace after returning from a longstanding hamstring injury.

Gayle limped off at Wolves after setting up a goal for Miguel Almiron in the 1-1 draw and hasn't kicked a ball since in the Premier League.

Newcastle striker Dwight Gayle reacts during the Premier League match between Aston Villa and Newcastle United

But both Gayle and Yoshinori Muto are available for the clash at Selhurst Park.

Steve Bruce will run a late fitness check on Joelinton with the Brazilian suffering a thigh strain this week.

Palace absentees

Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson has admitted he may be without a couple of players for the visit of Newcastle United due to illness.

The Eagles host Steve Bruce's side at Selhurst Park on Saturday afternoon looking to record their first victory since Boxing Day.

Roy Hodgson, Manager of Crystal Palace
Roy Hodgson, Manager of Crystal Palace

Palace will be boosted by the news former Magpies' target and on-loan Everton striker Cenk Tosun is back available for selection.

However, Hodgson will have to make do without James Tomkins after the defender picked up an injury and joined Jeffrey Schlupp and Mamadou Sakho on the sidelines.

And the Eagles boss added there will be late fitness tests for "one or two" players following sickness bouts during the week.

Bruce on Carroll's future

Andy Carroll has been urged to "stay strong" by Newcastle United boss Steve Bruce.

The former Liverpool striker has a hip problem after attempting to volley a ball in training last month and has not appeared since.

Andy Carroll reacts during Newcastle United vs Everton at St James' Park
Andy Carroll reacts during Newcastle United vs Everton at St James' Park

Details of his £75,000 per start deal also emerged last week and there is uncertainty over whether he will be offered a new deal for next season in the air.

Allardyce on Magpies snub

Former Newcastle United manager Sam Allardyce has opened up on why he rejected a return to the Magpies in the summer.

Following Rafa Benitez's departure, former England, Bolton, Blackburn, Sunderland, West Ham, Crystal Palace and Everton boss, Allardyce, revealed he rejected an approach from Newcastle to return as manager.

Sam Allardyce brings on Michael Owen of Newcastle United
Sam Allardyce brings on Michael Owen of Newcastle United

Allardyce was the first manager of the Mike Ashley era at Newcastle but was sacked after just six months in charge.

He was actually appointed by former chairman Freddy Shepherd before Ashley bought the club in 2007 and although he was privileged he was considered for a return to the club, he felt it 'wasn't right' to return to St James' Park.

Teenage forward signed

Newcastle United have paid an undisclosed cash fee for Kyle Crossley from League Two side Morecambe.

Newcastle United's new signing Kyle Crossley
Newcastle United's new signing Kyle Crossley

The fee could rise through add ons if the young forward goes on to earn a full professional contract.

Crossley was at Hartlepool United before they restructured their Academy and the teenager headed to Morecambe.

Agbonlahor's praise

Former Aston Villa forward Gabby Agbonlahor feels Steve Bruce has done a 'magnificent job' at Newcastle despite his squad's 'lack of quality'.

Bruce has steered Newcastle to 31 points so far this season and the Magpies sit seven points clear of the relegation zone with 12 Premier League matches remaining.

Steve Bruce talks to Gabriel Agbonlahor during their time together at Aston Villa
Steve Bruce talks to Gabriel Agbonlahor during their time together at Aston Villa

United are also in the fifth round of the FA Cup for the first time since 2006 and despite criticism of his 'underwhelming' appointment and his playing style, it is hard to argue that Bruce has done a decent job so far this season.

And Agbonlahor feels he deserves credit because of Newcastle's 'lack of quality', and he did not mince his words on United's front three.