Jonjo Shelvey has forced his way into Rafa Benitez’ starting line-up at Newcastle and as well as getting near some of his best form on the pitch Jonjo is also working much harder than he used to in games.
That’s a key requirement Rafa Benitez has when you are given a chance in the first team – you need to work your socks off and keep your concentration throughout the game.
Rafa Benitez pats Jonjo Shelvey on the back in training
The game at Rotherham was a good example of that, as all the Newcastle players were giving their all and the concentration and commitment was there for all to see – and it resulted in a great 3 points for us after a very tough game.
It’s fairly obvious when you consider what Rafa has already done at Newcastle that he has excellent man-management skills.
And he needs them because with 25 good players in his squad – at least two good players jostling for starting in every position in the team – a number of them will be on the bench or not even in the match-day 18.
So he needs to somehow keep all our players happy and that cannot be easy.
This is what Jonjo has said today in the local press:
“He’s a very good man-manager – he gets his points across well.”
“If you’re not playing, he’s a manager who’s very approachable. You can always knock on his door and he’ll give you the explanation.”
“But there’s 25 players. Imagine if everyone was knocking on his door?” “He wouldn’t get out until the evening!”
“It’s football. It’s a results business. To be honest, it doesn’t matter who plays or who scores as long as we win the games.”
“And get the club back up to the Premier League.”
It’s certainly a results-oriented business as Roberto Di Matteo has just found out at Villa Park.
But we are happy with the start Newcastle have made so far in the Championship and we are averaging 2 points a game in the first 11 league games.
That’s good, but we need to keep it up or even improve it.