Jonjo Shelvey has rubbished claims he’s had a ‘row’ with Rafa Benitez, insisting that he’s taken no notice of claims he’ll make a summer switch to West Ham.
Saturday’s game saw him make his first league start since November, but it’s been suggested on multiple occasions since then that Benitez would cash in on the midfielder – with West Ham tipped to make a £20m move by several outlets.
Shelvey had denied any rift with Rafa Benitez – with it claimed just a few weeks ago that he’d demanded answers after a total lack of game time – but Jonjo has insisted this ‘couldn’t be further from the truth’.
Here’s what he’s had to say when speaking to the Chronicle after the 1-1 draw at Brighton:
“People can talk all they want. I am not one to listen to what people say.
“People say I have had rows with Rafa and things like that. It couldn’t be further from the truth.
“I just carry on doing my training and I’ve had to wait and fight for a spot in the team.
“I think I have been very, very unlucky to be honest.”
“I got that bad injury and it killed me a little bit. People came in and did well. That’s all it is.
“You read things people say and that I have not got a future at this football club, I don’t listen to it.
“I know what I can do, the club know what I can do and the manager knows what I can do. We will see what happens.”
He then went on, insisting that his head had NOT been turned but admitting that he’s been ‘very, very down’ as he waited for his chance on the sidelines:
“My head has not been turned. I have always remained focused.
“Don’t get me wrong I have been very, very down because you want to play football. You can take all the money away because at the end of the day all you want to do is play football.
“There’s nothing worse than a footballer training all week and then not playing at the end of it. It hurts you.
“You see the lads smiling and running around and you don’t feel part of it. You have to stick by it and stick with the team and eventually your time will come.”
I must admit, it has recently felt very much like the beginning of the end as far as Shelvey’s Newcastle career is concerned, but this interview combined with the fact Benitez gave him the captains armband at Brighton suggests differently.
I can see him being moved on, with one of our most valuable players and our highest earner having no place on the bench, however it’s good to hear that he’s still fighting for his future at the club.