BBC pundit Danny Murphy has admitted just how perplexed he is to see Rafa Benitez leave Jonjo Shelvey out of his Newcastle United side, warning the Spaniard that Jonjo will ‘get the hump’ before long if he continues to leave him on the bench.
Whilst Shelvey has played the full 90 in seven of our last 10 league games, Benitez has benched him in consecutive games lately, with Jonjo settling for late cameo appearances in our last two games away to West Brom and Chelsea.
Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, Murphy has admitted just how baffled he is to see Benitez leave Shelvey out the team recently, suggesting it is criminal to leave one of your only match winners on your bench:
“It won’t be long before Jonjo Shelvey gets the hump.
“If he can’t get in this Newcastle team, I’m watching different football. I really am.
“Have you got enough match winners in the side for Newcastle?
“You’ve got one on the bench.”
The former Liverpool midfielder and current BBC pundit makes a valid point here, and I’m sure several NUFC fans will agree with him.
At West Brom, you can understand why Hayden and Merino may given us the physicality we needed against a big, strong Baggies side, but Shelvey’s intricate and imaginative passing gave us a totally different threat going forward when he came on. His pass through to Yedlin won a free kick that led to our equalising goal.
It was his exclusion at Chelsea that didn’t make much sense. Rafa clearly felt Hayden was unable to play two games in a week, so brought in Mo Diame to the midfield.
As he has in almost every appearance so far this season, Mo offered very little in midfield, and you can’t help but feel Shelvey could have given us so much more in a game where we needed every ounce of quality we had on the pitch.
Time for Benitez to give the promising pairing of Merino and Shelvey a good run now, starting with Leicester on Saturday.