Not many Toon fans would have Jonjo Shelvey as a key player at Newcastle United these days, however he is clearly front and centre of Steve Bruce’s plans ahead of the 2021/22 season.
The NUFC boss has named Shelvey as the one player who is “paramount” to how we play, insisting that his passing from deep is key to releasing our pacey forward players.
The 29-year-old had been injured for the entirety of pre-season after picking up an injury at home, bu returned to action in our 3-0 win against Norwich on Saturday and put in a stellar performance.
He gets plenty of criticism from Toon fans on Twitter, however Steve Bruce clearly sees him as a vital cog in our how want to play:
“Jonjo Shelvey is important the way we play, you know, he acts as the pivot, that one who can find a pass.
“Especially with the pace we have up front and try to exploit that.
“Jonjo Shelvey is paramount to how we play.
“After looking at him at Burnley, I didn’t think he had a chance [of making the West Ham match].
“The way he performed today [though] and another week ahead of him, so lets hope he can take part [against West Ham] in some capacity.”
Shelvey has, at times, showed his undoubted talent in a black-and-white shirt since his £12m arrival in January 2016.
He was one of our standout players in the Championship and his displays had Toon fans clamouring for an England call-up at certain points of Rafa Benitez’s tenure.
However, in recent times he has polarised opinion, with supporters criticising his work-rate and feeling as though that his clear natural talent isn’t being translated into performances.
He is no doubt one of Bruce’s favourites and has a strong influence on the dressing room; an on-song Shelvey can be a joy to watch so let’s hope this showing against Norwich can be a sign of things to come.