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Benitez Identifies Two Key Players For Newcastle

8:44 am, Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016 by Dr. Ed Harrison · 17 Comments

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.

Tags: Aleksandar Mitrovic · Championship · Coaching · Jonjo Shelvey · Newcastle News · Pre-season

17 responses so far ↓

  • 1 OneAlanShearer // Aug 3, 2016 at 8:50 AM

    Great to think we have a big enough and good enough quality squad to challenge and have a good go at cups…just want the winger and striker to put the icing on the cake. Keep Mbemba, shelvey, Janmaat, Krul, mitrovic, perez, aarons, lascelles.. then we are in a great position to go for it in every match. Excited for the new season again.

  • 2 Jail for Ashley // Aug 3, 2016 at 8:59 AM

    Slank had asked whether the new signings would be regular starters to which you patronsingly replied Rafa doesn’t sign players to sit on the bench. Bonny lad!
    I think Clarke and Gámez have been signed to do exactly that.

  • 3 Budge123 // Aug 3, 2016 at 9:02 AM

    I hope Mitro has realised how stupid his sending off against Spurs was and the impact his ban could have.
    He needs to sort himself out cos he’s not worth jack to us suspended time after time.
    Can’t see Rafa putting up with it either.
    Not exactly a goal machine is he!
    Great potential there but unfortunately it appears a poor temperament also. Hope he can change it.

  • 4 hibbitt // Aug 3, 2016 at 9:02 AM

    46 games plus the cups everyone will get a chance still think more of the fringe will leave loan/sale which will tighten the squad up a bit more

  • 5 lochinvar // Aug 3, 2016 at 9:06 AM

    So Rafa has mentioned the R word ” Rotation” and that sounds good for team spirit – all for one and one for all etc.
    However if we have cover for most positions in place now who is the missing link as a goalscorer to rotate with Mitro ?
    There was talk a while back about a so called big name signing ( but I’m not sure we need that approach now ) so are there any suggestions out there ? What’s Van Persie up to these days…?

  • 6 WWSBRD // Aug 3, 2016 at 9:07 AM

    Diame Shelvey and Hayden/Colback midfield the strongest in the championship? I can’t think of one better off the top of my head

    Hopefully Rafa focuses on attack now

  • 7 Nufc-83 // Aug 3, 2016 at 9:08 AM

    Lochinvar what about gayle or Perez who will both score more goals than mitro this season IMO? If you mean target man then maybe you have a point.

  • 8 Spoof // Aug 3, 2016 at 9:08 AM


    I very much doubt that Gamez will be on the bench, Clark perhaps seeing as he is one of four decent CB’s and it will be a case of whichever two do the best to be first choice, but Gamez only has kids and Janmaat to compete with and Janmaat does have his faults, like not being able to defend so I expect Gamez to be first choice.

  • 9 Nufc-83 // Aug 3, 2016 at 9:12 AM

    I fully expect Jaanmat to be first choice RB and will prove again he is one of our best players.

  • 10 El Sleeve // Aug 3, 2016 at 9:12 AM

    Has Clark been signed as a LB? Has the Kockaert deal died? When’s the squad numbers out?! Questions!

  • 11 Fostino // Aug 3, 2016 at 9:13 AM

    There will be a lot of clubs, even in the Pl kicking themselves that they missed out on these release clauses. Goes to show the shady world of agents. I imagine diames agent made good use of release clause to get hull to offer more for his client, and when they didn’t the toon came knocking. I suspect there is many millions more to include on agents fee on our total spend on transfers o top of the reported 45m we are about to spend.

    I also suspect we have agents working around the clock trying to get rid of some of our deadwood. Moral of the story…reckon I should become an agent

  • 12 Jib // Aug 3, 2016 at 9:13 AM

    Don’t rewrite history
    Slank asked me specifically about Hanley.
    I answered him with a sweeping
    Sorry for the long words I know they give you and Tuffty heid aches.

  • 13 WWSBRD // Aug 3, 2016 at 9:13 AM

    Is Gamez faultless? Also can play LB where we have no players

  • 14 El Sleeve // Aug 3, 2016 at 9:15 AM

    And do we still expect Krul to leave? We have 5 keepers and Elliot, Darlow and Sels aren’t gonna be happy being benchwarmers.

    Also, very big season for Mbabu, I really hope he gets some games

  • 15 lochinvar // Aug 3, 2016 at 9:17 AM

    Probably thats what was on my mind – another target man to rotate with Mitro with games every two weeks and cup matches and his disciplinary record it might be good to have that extra cover. Not for one moment suggesting Crouch but some big unit up front who can bully defences and allow other players to feed of that scenario….maybe its not Rafa’s style, we shall see

  • 16 carl // Aug 3, 2016 at 9:21 AM

    Patronising! It’s about having different opinions that’s what makes the blog enjoyable. Rafa has been making clear through the media that he will be fully using the squad. Shelvey and Colback worked very well together until Colback was suspended. Rafa doesn’t mind changes when he thinks necessary, just what he did at Liverpool he was the original tinker man. Just because Jazzy has put you back in your box don’t go looking for trouble elsewhere.

    Interesting seeing past debates at Liverpool on Rafa’s preference for Zonal marking. He combined it with man marking of key players which shows flexibility.

  • 17 Budge123 // Aug 3, 2016 at 9:22 AM

    I don’t quite get Gamez. It was only one game but for me he was the worst player on the park against Vitesse.
    Got a lot to do to make starting 11 I think

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