Ian Holloway recently declared that Jonjo Shelvey was the best player to have ever played in the Championship.
Following the Cardiff match where once again Shelvey was behind pretty much everything good Newcastle did going forward, his midfield partner Isaac Hayden says that he thinks the former Liverpool and Swansea midfielder is the best in his position in the division.
Having looked the part in his first two home matches against West Ham and West Brom, Shelvey lost his way, and Rafa Benitez left him out as the relegation battle intensified.
However, this season he has become arguably the one player you don’t want Newcastle to be without.
It is now almost a year since the last involvement with England, Jonjo Shelvey making substitute appearances under Roy Hodgson against both France and Spain in November 2015. However, Isaac Hayden thinks that if Shelvey keeps his current form up, it is only a question of time before he gets a recall.
As for the win over Cardiff, Hayden thinks Newcastle should have made it three of four and killed the game off, believing there are ‘lessons to be learnt’.
Isaac Hayden speaking to NUFC TV:
“I think we thoroughly deserved the three points, created a lot of chances and if we are honest with ourselves – we should have made it three and hopefully four.
“It wasn’t to be and it was a two goal lead which is always a dangerous scoreline because if they get one back, it puts their tails back up.
“A good first half and the second we knew they were going to come out and have a go.
“Maybe a little sloppy on our part but we got the job done in the end.
“In previous games you can say that we have taken teams to the cleaners but it wasn’t to be this time – lessons to be learnt.”
‘A bit like Preston the week before, defending well at the end?’
“I think defensively we are quite solid. They (Cardiff) have some big lads and taking throw-ins (into the box) from the halfway line, what can you do?
“They are throwing the ball 40 yards into our box and you have to deal with it. I thought our centre-backs did really well. I thought the team as a whole defended well.
“We’ve worked well in training and done exactly as the Manager wanted us to do. Maybe the second half could have been a little bit better.”
‘Looking forward to going away with England (Under 21s) this week?’
“The only way I’m going to be picked by England is if I’m playing for Newcastle.
“For me it was imperative that I came back after the last international break and refreshed my mind & refocused on the next set of games.
“Before the last international break I’d played a lot of minutes, playing a lot of Saturday then Tuesday games. It just took its toll on my body.
“The Manager just noticed and picked up little things on what my style of play is in training. Looked at it and just felt I was a bit tense.
“He (Rafa) came up to me and was honest, which I appreciated. Then I came back with more confidence.”
‘What is it like playing with Jonjo Shelvey?’
“He is a very very good player. For me, I would say he’s the best central midfielder in the Championship.
“I think everybody playing in this position aspires to be at that level.
“If he can keep playing at the level he has been playing at recently, then an England call up can’t be far away.
“It is a privilege to play with Jonjo Shelvey.”