Benitez Identifies Two Key Players For Newcastle

Jonjo Shelvey will see that he will have even more competition for one of those central midfield roles this coming season with Hull City midfielder Mo Diame set to be announced – along with Aston Villa defender Ciaran Clark – as two new signings today.

But Jonjo shouldn’t worry, because he will be a key player for Newcastle this season according to Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez, who has also identified striker Aleksandar Mitrovic as having a vital role to play in our promotion push this season.

jonjo shelvey rafa benitez training

Rafa Benitez talking to Jonjo Shelvey in pre-season

Rafa will be rotating players to keep them fresh throughout the season and the Spanish manager had this to say today when asked if Shelvey would play many games this season:

“For sure.”

“Mitrovic won’t play a role in the next four games, but after that it’s really important for us that they are available.”

“My idea is to give all of them the same chance to compete. “Then, when we have two games a week, we will make sure we can rotate, and change and they will have to be ready.”

“It is difficult to play with 11 players for too many games, so I want to play with a squad, because if you play 46 games, with the cups, you have to be ready to have a big squad.”

Rafa was famous for rotating his players when he was manager of Liverpool and certainly we are going to have a bigger squad than for some time at Newcastle, with competition for places all over the pitch for those starting places.

Rafa has shown us that competition for places is key and we really haven’t had too much of that over the last few years on Tyneside.

We have had one good player in each position but not much backup, so when the top players are injured we have tended to rush them back, which is maybe why we have always picked up so many injuries?

If we get injuries this season, the team will not be hit too much in quality, because we have players who can come in who are as good as the starters.

Rafa is building a proper squad this summer and it’s very difficult, given the players he has brought in,  to be able pick the best starting eleven.

But that only shows we have multiple players who can start in any one position.


That’s got to be very good and in reality as far as Rafa is concerned, every player in the squad is important,  because they all have a role to play.

That’s how you build and keep a top squad at any club – the players are all important and they feel that with a world-class manager like Rafa Benitez in charge.

Maybe that’s why he has won so much in his sterling management career.

Comments welcome.