According to the Chronicle’s Chris Waugh, Jonjo Shelvey’s ‘repeated attempts’ to rush himself back from injury have ‘frustrated’ Rafa Benitez – feeling he’s been sidelined for longer periods as a result.
Eagerness to return to the side too quickly seems to have cost Shelvey here, with him now behind Diame, Longstaff, Ki and Hayden in the pecking order. I do also think issues between the ex-Swansea man and Benitez run deeper than this, with a lack of awareness and work ethic off the ball not making him a ‘Rafa player.’
Here’s a snippet from the Chronicle’s latest piece on the midfielder, hinting that Rafa could cash in if he was given money to replace him:
“There have been whispers behind the scenes for months that Shelvey’s repeated attempts to rush himself back from injury – which in the process led him to be sidelined for a longer period than was necessary, including during the hectic and brutal festive period – frustrated Benitez.
“Trying to get yourself back fit early once is understandable; but to breakdown on multiple occasions is not something Benitez will countenance.
“What’s more, there has always been a suspicion that Shelvey is not really a ‘Benitez player’. Had Newcastle received a substantial cash offer for the midfielder in recent windows, and had Benitez been confident he could have reinvested the money in a replacement, then Shelvey may well have been sold.
“With West Ham United’s long-term interest set to be rekindled this summer, then Shelvey’s Newcastle future could be entering its twilight stages. There have been rumblings of a significant squad overhaul during the upcoming transfer window if Benitez stays, and Shelvey is one of the few players Newcastle could expect to command a decent fee for – even given his lack of football this season.”
Not coming on during the defeat against the Gunners, especially when we needed a creative spark in the middle of the field, has to put the long term future of Shelvey in doubt. He has bounced back from similar disappointments under Rafa, I remember when he initially wasn’t even first choice during the start of our season in the Championship, but some fine displays when given a chance meant he came back into the starting XI – and stayed there.
The writing could be on the wall this time though, with a move to West Ham mooted in the summer. Shelvey has talent, that is clear, but poor discipline and fitness issues, combined with not enough consistency means Newcastle are likely to look elsewhere; especially if Rafa stays.