A lot of debate surrounds Jonjo Shelvey.

Many fans wondering what the story is with the midfielder.

Despite the team struggling and on a run of six defeats and a draw in the last seven games, the talented midfielder has found himself on the bench the past three matches.

How can that be? We were all wondering how he didn’t make the England squad a few weeks ago…

Jonjo Shelvey definitely has ability but has he really showed it for Newcastle?

Yes he did well in the Championship but we could all have expected that as a given, the midfielder ending up with five goals and eight assists.

When you see though that Matt Ritchie got 12 goals and seven assists, you might wonder why Shelvey didn’t do even more in the second tier.

The fact remains that Newcastle have won only one game this season when the midfielder has started and that was Palace at home, relying on Merino scoring that late winner as a sub, after Shelvey and teammates had created nothing in the opening 85 minutes.

However, it is irrelevant what the fans think, only Rafa Benitez’ opinion counts.

With the United boss, you don’t have to look too far before you see why it maybe is no surprise to see Rafa leaving out Jonjo Shelvey.

When Rafa arrived in March 2016 at Newcastle, he kept things pretty much the same as they had been team-wise, having a look at what he had.

His first four games in charge were:

Leicester 1 Newcastle 0

Newcastle 1 Sunderland 1

Norwich 3 Newcastle  2

Southampton 3 Newcastle 1

Jonjo Shelvey started all four but was then dropped and never started another Premier League match that season.

Newcastle of course winning three and drawing three of the final six games to almost stay up, these included impressive draws against Liverpool (away ) and Man City, plus the final day demolition of Spurs.

Actually, that point after his first four matches was when Rafa Benitez appeared to have decided that he now recognised who he could and couldn’t rely on, not just with Shelvey.

Mitrovic started the first two, came off the bench and scored against Norwich, then started against Southampton, but then was dropped and didn’t make the team again until Spurs on the final day when there was nothing to play for.

Mitro hasn’t started a Premier League match since May 2016 and now we have Jonjo Shelvey having started only eight and maybe Rafa’s early impressions of Shelvey are resonating once again.

Really surprising actually to see just who did play in the final half dozen Premier League games of the last relegation season.

Rafa Benitez actually started with Jack Colback and Cheick Tiote ahead of Jonjo Shelvey, Shelvey a £13m big money/wage signing in the January who had been brought in to orchestrate a survival bid.

Colback and Tiote each played five of the final six games of the 2015/16 season. Colback then playing a minor role in the Championship effort, whilst Cheick Tiote was sidelined and allowed to go to China, only for then tragedy to hit.

I don’t think it is impossible for Jonjo Shelvey to get back in as first choice but I would say that there is a lot more doubt about it than most people would believe.

This three game run out of the team might end up not being only temporary, as I have the feeling Rafa Benitez may not be his biggest fan.

Maybe he will be used as an impact sub as was the case in the final 10 minutes at West Brom, does Jonjo Shelvey have the engine that Rafa needs in the middle of the pitch, and is he really doing enough to influence the play going forward?

Interesting to see what happens in these next three weeks before the transfer window opens and then depending on that, whether we may even see a surprise sale in January to free up soem transfer funds.

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  • TheFatController

    Maybe Swansea recognise his talents and will snap our hands off to take him back in Jan?

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    I wouldn`t worry to much if i was Jonjo, chances are Rafa will be gone next month,
    one way or the other.
    He`ll get sick or the Fat Lad will think, why an i paying this guy a 100 grand a week to be relegation fodder

  • mentalman

    whats with all of the articles trying to justify shelvey not being picked

    I don’t think anyone would bat an eyelid if we were doing well but we aren’t so its quite right that fans are questioning why he is being left on the bench. Our midfield is currently non existent the way it is, it isn’t controlling the middle of the pitch, its not covering the defence and its not creating anything

    • MichaelMaximusMoose

      but we aren`t doing well are we, the clubs in meltdown

    • 1957

      It’s just a case of the Rafaites circling the wagons around Benitez, he is beyond criticism for some

  • toonterrier

    So its Shelveys fault we’ve been rubbish the last seven games even though he didn’t start in the last three. It would make more sense if they built the team around him and try to win games instead of all the negative tactics. I realise we haven’t got the best squad in the league so we have to make do with what we have until January when hopefully money will be available but in the last game with Shelvey as well as Lascelles and Mitro on the bench we were doomed from the off.

    • MichaelMaximusMoose

      we have two pig headed guys at the Club, one`s the owner & the other is the manager. both have massive ego`s. it spells disaster for Nufc

      • 1957

        I seriously don’t see any solution for the club. Assuming they are in place by January ( a big if) are new owners going to throw huge amounts of money, that Ashley won’t, for transfer fees and wages to Benitez when the club is sitting in the bottom six and relegation is a possibility.

        We really are doomed…

  • Damon Horner

    Repeated on here that the manager is not above criticism so the same should apply to our senior players, fact is despite his perceived ability he really hasn’t performed to any better level than the rest this season despite his star player status.

    • Soldier

      you go to the match, do you ?

      • Damon Horner

        If you disagree with my opinion, little point in asking a question like that. Tell me what i’m missing that has made him a top performer this year?

        • Soldier

          well i`m at every game & unless you actually watch shelvey over 90 mins you can`t condemn him. in my humble opinion Rafa is turning into a self centred selfish man but you`re entitled to an opinion. a post earlier stated only 3 players are capable of passing a good ball, shelvey, merino & ritchie the post was right

          • Damon Horner

            Surely you don’t think i’d make a judgment having never watched a game? He is a capable passer but he hasn’t looked effective lately, again it’s down to opinions and how each of us would send out a team but I think dropping him, at least momentarily is justified.
            Of course my opinion isn’t as rigid as some so if I am being harsh on the lad and there are facts which show that then i’d easily take it back.

  • HappyToons

    Great how the worm turns. A few weeks ago some were saying top 6 or 8 or at worst 10th whilst the rest of us know it is a relegation fight without a number of decent signings.

    Five minimum and that includes two strikers, though I still rate Gayle with the right service.

    • Geordiegiants

      It is funny yes, it will be the same fans that now love Sir Bobby.
      It’s also very funny, that every fan I speak to says it wasn’t them that hounded the great man out.

  • Wor Lass

    I don`t see why everyone has to be so defensive. This is interesting stuff – Ryan has done his homework and has written a good summary of the situation as he sees it. Of course, there are lots of variables involved here and there will be loads of theories as to why Jonjo may not have been as effective as people assume. It does put a bit of method into Rafa`s madness. The fact remains, though, that we are screaming out for some quality on the ball and that some of our leaked goals recently have come from poor passes being intercepted. Jonjo has vision and can pass the ball. he doesn`t have to play every minute but he should be getting enough time to influence the game, in my opinion. So should Mitro! Just for the record – before anyone asks – I don`t generally go to games but I still think I`m alloowed an opinion.

    • Andy Mac

      Agreed we need players who can at least offer something to the first team gameplan. There’s no point in playing your favourites just because you feel they wont let you down ? Joselu may very well be a 100% committed footballer but lacks 99% ability.

      • Geordiegiants

        I’m not having a go, but that doesn’t make sense. How can you play someone you know is going to let you down, favourite or not?

        • Andy Mac

          You select a player because he fits your “ideal” player profile but you fail to accept that although he may be loyal he’s limited in his ability to do what you want.

          IMO Rafa seems to be happy to prefer players he’s comfortable with without accepting they offer very little for the overall team performance. The No 1 quality of a manager is his ability to find the best XI regardless of his personal preferences as Pardwho often failed to do ?

  • Stephen Paylor

    hardly fair to compare shelvey with ritchie in terms of goals and assists last year. Ritchie plays higher up the field on average than Shelvey