Rafa Benitez is set to be boosted by the return of two players for game at Swansea on Sunday.

Buoyed by the first Premier League win of the season against West Ham, the United boss will have some more positive decisions to make when it comes to team selection.

Just because the team won convincingly against the Hammers is no guarantee he will keep the same eleven, Rafa Benitez having regularly made changes last season, even when Newcastle were on winning runs.

Jonjo Shelvey will be available for selection after serving his three match ban against Huddersfield, Forest and West Ham.

Meanwhile, the Chronicle report that Florian Lejeune will be back in training on Tuesday and put himself in line for a return to the team as well against Swansea.

There could even be a third player back, although there has been no recent updates as to exactly where DeAndre Yedlin is, in terms of his recovery. At his West Ham pre-match press conference the United boss said his right-back was ‘still not ready’.

People say about not changing a winning team but Swansea away is almost certainly going to be far tougher than the challenge West Ham presented.

Florian Lejeune played more minutes than any other Newcastle player in the pre-season friendlies and looked comfortable against Spurs until injury struck. I think Rafa could well find a space in the team for him if he comes through training ok this week.

Rafa could simply put Lejeune in for Lascelles, or alternatively move Ciaran Clark to left-back in place of Chancel Mbemba, then pair Lejeune with Lascelles.

However, if you did play Lascelles and Lejeune then you would be lacking pace in the middle of defence with no Clark.

As for Jonjo Shelvey, I think a number of fans are always too hasty in going overboard when he ends up missing matches.

The number of people wanting to write him off and rule him out of the team due to Mikel Merino looking decent, is a bit ridiculous.

Personally, I think by far the weakest part of the team is Ayoze Perez in that number 10 role and I could see Shelvey playing there. I like the look of Shelvey, Hayden and Merino as a midfield three in whatever formation Rafa Benitez would prefer.



  • Paul Patterson

    A difficult one. I wouldn’t want to disrupt the back four and Shelvey should earn his recall not just walk straight back in.

    • MichaelMaximusMoose

      he`s the best player we have although he`s not a full shilling & i don`t think Rafa will start him anyway against one of his old teams
      don`t want another ban

  • Steve Pearce

    Your’e totally bang on – a Nerino/Hayden/ Shelvey midfield combo would be awesome. Then we have Lejeune coming back and things are looking even better. Of course then we need a striker to top that lot off – but as we all know, we were only allowed 5m instead of 15m. No disrespect intended for Joselu mind – I just hope he can deliver and at least he doesn’t have “confidence issues” or a childish violent streak getting in the way of his football…

  • thewildchimp

    I support M/H/S whole-heartedly, though I’d put Merino at #10 instead of Shelvey. Merino works better as a link and Shelvey as a “mastermind” from what we’ve seen so far. Really, anyone but Perez and Diame. Perez can work well as an impact sub against slower defences, but that’s about it. Diame can power through lines on his “on day”, but Benitez doesn’t play like that. Clark must play as a CD. He is our best defensive player hands down and he can have most impact when played directly in front of the goal.