Jonjo Shelvey is doing everything he can to prepare himself for the Premier League but says that other reinforcements are still needed, to enable Newcastle United to be in the right shape to take on the top tier.
Last summer saw Shelvey used a personal trainer to help him lose weight and get fitter ahead of pre-season training, this time the midfielder says he has managed the fitness training programme himself but has reaped similar benefits, as he tries to give himself that extra edge to be able to compete.
Nobody can deny his ability with the ball but mobility, or rather lack of, has been a major hindrance at times in his career. Last season saw Jonjo Shelvey far more dangerous when getting further forward into key areas with better movement, rather than relying on his trademark long passing.
The Premier League is unforgiving and the former Liverpool midfielder will need to be at his best to compete and be one of Newcastle’s key players.
Despite the transfer activity so far though, Jonjo Shelvey believes that quality signings are still needed in the coming weeks though he adds ‘but that is not down to us’.
Whilst the likes of Shelvey, Gayle and Ritchie could dominate Championship level opposition, they will become average players at best in terms of the Premier League and clearly need a few more signings of at least their level, if not higher.
Jonjo Shelvey wants to repay the loyalty shown by Rafa Benitez and the club after being found guilty of guilty of using racially aggravated language towards an opponent by the FA:
“Any manager that sticks by you, you are buzzing, to be honest with you.
“It could have gone either way with the club and they could have thrown me by the wayside – but they stuck by me and they believed in me.
“I feel like I repaid them with my performances and I have just got to keep continuing to do that.
“The manager thinks enough of me to keep me at the club and play me, so the main thing I need to do is to repay him.
“I think we need to probably bring a few players in but that is not down to us.
“We are the ones at the club and we are the ones who have got to come to the front when the season starts, regardless of anyone coming in.
“It is a real opportunity, quite a young squad and there are not many that have played (much) in the Premier League.
“We are a young team, but what a great opportunity for us to go out and express ourselves. It’s just good to be back. It’s the best league in the world at the end of the day, and it’s where everybody wants to play.
“The Premier League gets a lot better every year and it will be a shock to the system that first game but there is no better game to come back into than Tottenham on a Sunday live on Sky.
“That is a positive for the lads and we want to go out there and prove that we are good enough to play at this level. I think if we can get a few good results at the beginning of the season, it will give us the confidence and a platform to go on and get more wins.
“We deserve to be back there…just like we deserved to go down the season before – now we are back we need to make sure that we stay there.
“Last year (summer) I had a trainer but this pre-season I just went away and did my own bit – doing a lot of running – 5k in the morning, an intense session in the afternoon, then before bed I’d do another 5k. I feel a lot better, a lot fitter, a lot sharper, that was the main aim for me going into this season, making sure I was ready and prepared.
“The last year has probably toughened me up, I hadn’t played in the Championship for a long time and so it was refreshing to go back and play there – but it isn’t a nice league to play in, lucky we had Dwight Gayle to score goals.”