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Opinion

Jonjo Shelvey to return at West Ham if one other thing changes

1 year ago
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Jonjo Shelvey has always been a big debating point at Newcastle United.

From the lows where Newcastle fans see all his weaknesses and don’t even care if he makes the matchday squad.

To the highs where Newcastle supporters were outraged when Shelvey didn’t make the 2018 England squad for the World Cup finals in Russia.

Whilst he had injury issues for some of the time, the truth is that last season Rafa Benitez pretty much froze Jonjo Shelvey out after very poor form early on.

However, for me, I think Jonjo Shelvey was made redundant as soon as Dwight Gayle went to West Brom on loan in summer 2018.

Jonjo Shelvey is a good midfielder who is then brilliant at one thing, his passing.

For all he got a lot of stick [some justified] for not scoring enough goals [six] in 2017/18, Dwight Gayle was essential for the way Newcastle United and in particular, Jonjo Shelvey, played.

The main tactic to get United going forward was Shelvey putting the ball over the top of the opposition defence to pick out Gayle, very much in a quarterback role.

With Perez not having any pace and Rondon the same, they were never going to be trying to get beyond the opposition defence to be picked out by the former Liverpool midfielder.

West Ham on Saturday sees Steve Bruce having some big decisions to make when it comes to team selection.

Maybe the biggest of all is in central midfield.

Without Sunday’s red card, I’m sure we would have 100% seen Sean Longstaff and Isaac Hayden reunited in the middle.

After playing well against Man Utd, Matty Longstaff has really struggled in the Chelsea and Wolves games and he was due to be taken out of the firing line. However, it is down to a choice of the 19 year old, Shelvey or Ki. None of them ideal in my opinion.

However, I do think Jonjo Shelvey is the clear pick…but only if Dwight Gayle is also brought back in.

I don’t see any great point in playing Shelvey if Joelinton stays in the team, as he won’t be running in behind the Hammers defence.

If we get Dwight Gayle in though, I can see him getting beyond the Hammers defence and latching on to passes from Shelvey, with then Almiron and Saint-Maximin using their pace to get up and support Gayle, feeding off passes in good/great positions around the box.

What we have at the moment isn’t working going forward and it has been tough for Joelinton in particular. However, the right call this weekend is to bring both Shelvey and Gayle in, then I think we could well see a decent number of chances and hopefully goals being created.

Also, both Willems and Yedlin are far better using their pace/mobility getting forward rather than their defensive ‘qualities’, with Jonjo Shelvey able to pick them out when they make runs up the pitch.

It isn’t the most cunning plan BUT I think it is the best we have got against West Ham.

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