Jonjo Shelvey determined to prove Rafa Benitez wrong
Jonjo Shelvey is looking forward rather than backwards.
The midfielder getting in some early fitness at the training ground a month ahead of the Newcastle United squad regrouping the first week in July.
Jonjo Shelvey desperate to bounce back from a nightmare season on a personal level: ‘People wrote me off and things like that, but as far as I’m aware I’m a Newcastle United player and, until I’m told otherwise, I’ll keep fighting for a spot in this team and to show everyone how good I am.’
After going off injured on 3 November 2018 against Watford at a point when Newcastle still hadn’t won a game yet, it was a long six months before he got another chance, playing in the final two away games. A draw at Brighton and then 4-0 win at Fulham when Shelvey also scored his first goal of the season.
Injury initially kept Jonjo Shelvey out but for much of that time Rafa made a conscious decision to leave him out of the starting eleven and even out of the matchday 18 at times. Isaac Hayden was excellent and Sean Longstaff for the brief period he was in the team before injury, but Shelvey also found himself behind Ki and Diame.
Centre midfield is arguably the most difficult area of the team to guess for next season, as last season Diame had 24 starts in centre midfield, Hayden 20, ki 14, Shelvey 10 and Longstaff 8. Of the five, only really Ki has not featured in reports of potentially leaving this summer.
In truth, despite his undoubted ability, Jonjo Shelvey has never really convinced Rafa Benitez as an automatic starter in the Premier League.
When the manager first arrived in March 2016 he gave Shelvey three starts but then abandoned him for the relegation run-in, instead naming him on the bench six times.
In the Championship season he was first choice, making 38 league starts and only four on the bench. However, back in the Premier League it has been very mixed.
Jonjo Shelvey making 25 PL starts in 2017/18 and 10 in 2018/19, named on the bench 21 times across the two seasons.
If you are intending to play Shelvey then I think you have to build your team to suit his style.
However, any decisions on selling/retaining players and formation are all up in the air, as we have zero idea as to who will be manager or even club owner next season.
Jonjo Shelvey speaking to NUFC TV:
“Last season wasn’t the best for me.
“You hear a lot of people saying ‘He was rubbish last season’ but the truth is, I got a very, very bad injury and I’m not looking for excuses, but that’s the reason why I was out.
“I took a number of injections to try and get myself to play games and things like that but it just wasn’t to be.
“People wrote me off and things like that, but as far as I’m aware I’m a Newcastle United player and, until I’m told otherwise, I’ll keep fighting for a spot in this team and to show everyone how good I am.
“It was [hard to get back into the team], people came into the team and did well, and I wasn’t given a lot of opportunities.
“But that’s football at the end of the day; you are not going to go through your whole football career always having a perfect season, you are going to have these seasons now and again.
“Hopefully that is mine done and out of the way and now I can look forward and continue into next season the way I finished last season.
“I obviously want to get myself back into the team first of all, make sure by the start of the season that I’m back in the starting eleven and then kick on from there.
“It’s always good to play against teams [in pre-season] that you’re going to be playing against next season.
“It’s better for your fitness to play a team straight away who is in your league.
“The likes of Manchester City, Wolves and West Ham [who are in the pre-season Premier League Asia Trophy] all finished in the top half last season so it’ll be interesting but a one we will be looking forward to.
“It will be difficult to play in the humidity and heat over there but something we are all looking forward to do.
“This sort of work, and the work I’ve been doing out in Dubai [since the end of the season], that can only stand me in good stead for it.
“As long as I’m fit and I’m ready, the football side of it will take care of it for myself. I just need to get myself back to the fitness levels I lost during the three or four months I was injured.
“That’s what I’ll aim to do, and I’ll come back ready to start the season.”
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