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Opinion

So instead of Sean Longstaff, Joe Willock will have to do Jonjo Shelvey running tonight

6 months ago
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Good news – Joe Willock is back in the starting eleven for Friday night’s match at Leicester.

Bad news – Jonjo Shelvey is still in the team.

Quite unbelievable.

I thought tonight would be the night when we would see something different, Joe Willock coming into the team was a no-brainer BUT it should never have been at the expense of Sean Longstaff.

The older Longstaff has been putting in some hard yards in recent matches to cover for the lack of running from Jonjo Shelvey, now we are just going like for like, with tonight Joe Willock needing to make up for Shelvey’s lack of movement / workrate.

If Newcastle United are ever going to break out of this so limited mindset and formation, they need central midfielders who will get about the pitch, carrying the ball as well as working hard when out of possession.

This is the Newcastle team v Leicester: Dubravka, Murphy, Fernandez, Krafth, Dummett, Ritchie, Shelvey, Willock, Almiron, Saint-Maximin, Wilson (And the Subs: Mark Gillespie, Ciaran Clark, Andy Carroll, Jamal Lewis, Jeff Hendrick, Sean Longstaff, Javier Manquilo, Joelinton, Dwight Gayle)

No idea why Krafth is getting a game and Clark dropped to the bench, however, for the future of the club / team it was this Jonjo Shelvey staying in the team that really depressed me.

Pretty much every game we see Newcastle United not only lose the central midfield battle but not even contest it.

Jonjo Shelvey sitting so deep game after game that he ends up keeping the central defenders company, trying to hit his Hollywood balls that never come to anything.

Especially against such a mobile hard working creative team as Leicester, with the likes of Maddison, Tielemans and Ndidi in midfield, we needed the legs and willingness to work hard of Joe Willock AND Sean Longstaff.

For the club and team to move on next season, or have any chance of doing so, we need to see the back of Jonjo Shelvey.

Instead, Steve Bruce has made him captain and Shelvey has been named in the Premier League starting elevens more than any other Newcastle player this season. No wonder we are on a run of only four wins in the last twenty five matches, as the opposition are gifted control of games week after week.

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