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Opinion

No future for Jonjo Shelvey at Newcastle United under Rafa Benitez – Summer exit

3 years ago
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The writing is on the wall for Jonjo Shelvey.

The midfielder having no future at Newcastle United, at least certainly not under Rafa Benitez.

Whilst injury problems have played a part, it is now 150 days since Shelvey last started a Premier League game.

The last couple of months have seen the former Liverpool and England player available once again but it has made little/no difference to the NUFC manager.

Jonjo Shelvey even struggling to make the bench much of the time.

Even with Sean Longstaff unluckily struck down by injury it has only very marginally changed anything.

The only real difference is a place on the bench now.

Against Everton he was introduced for the final 11 minutes with Newcastle 2-1 down, Shelvey instrumental in driving Newcastle forward in the closing stages and turning it into a 3-2 win.

Jonjo Shelvey had replaced a very disappointing Ki and most fans expected a start at Bournemouth.

However, Rafa instead started Mohamed Diame, the former Senegal international was really poor, Shelvey given only the final seven minutes as his replacement. The sub helping to once again push Newcastle forward and played his part in turning a 2-1 impending defeat into a 2-2 draw.

Surely he would start at Arsenal…

Instead, Jonjo Shelvey didn’t even get on the pitch. Diame started again and was even worse than against Bournemouth BUT with Newcastle desperate for somebody to come on and put their foot on the ball and maybe create something, it was Ki who Rafa put on instead of Diame.

Coincidentally, Sky Sports published some stats ahead of the Arsenal match, despite having a poor season, Jonjo Shelvey still second only to Almiron, and indeed he will be only marginally behind the Paraguayan now after that Arsenal match.

Chances created per 90 minutes in the Premier League as per Sky Sports stats:

2.24 Miguel Almiron

1.76 Jonjo Shelvey

1.52 Ayoze Perez

1.19 Isaac Hayden

1.11 Christian Atsu

1.00 Salomon Rondon

0.98 DeAndre Yedlin

I think the bottom line is that rightly or wrongly, Rafa Benitez as never really believed in Jonjo Shelvey. He doesn’t see him as a player who fits what he wants to have in his team.

The stats maybe indicating that Rafa sees Shelvey as more of a flat track bully.

In the Championship season, Shelvey featured in 42 of 46 league games, only the four he was suspended for did he miss totally.

In fact, the midfielder has started more Championship games (38) than he has in almost two and a half Premier League seasons under Rafa Benitez.

This season only eight starts, whilst even last season Shelvey only started 25 PL games.

Maybe the writing was on the wall very early on.

When Rafa arrived, Jonjo Shelvey started the first four Premier League games, a draw and three defeats.

You may be surprised, I know I was when checking it out, but in the final six games of that 2015/16 relegation battle, Rafa Benitez didn’t give the midfielder a single start.

Instead, Rafa chose Cheick Tiote and Jack Colback as his two central midfielders to start all of those final six games, ahead of Shelvey. That preferred Benitez selection/formation bringing three wins and three draws that almost brought PL safety.

In fact, Rafa gave Shelvey only 31 minutes off the bench in the final five games that decided the relegation issue.

Obviously there is no right or wrong, only opinions, whether it is Rafa Benitez or what Newcastle fans think about it.

It is though of course the manager’s opinion that is all important for Jonjo Shelvey and certainly if Rafa stays on, Shelvey will be leaving this summer.

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