Jonjo Shelvey wanted to be a starter for Newcastle this season under Rafa Benitez – and he has achieved that goal with some very hard work in the summer getting himself super-fit with a personal trainer.
But it still took Jonjo a few games to get into the swing of things this season, but now he is one of the first names on the team sheet for Rafa and the former Liverpool player has demonstrated terrific skills.
And Jonjo has been consistent too, which was one of his weaknesses in the past.
Rafa Benitez with Jonjo Shelvey at QPR
It was bad news for the club when the 24 year-old was charged by the FA with misconduct, after he had allegedly used racist comments towards a player in the home game against Wolves on September 17th.
Shelvey professes his innocence and he’s been adamant about that and asked for a personal hearing.
But the likelihood is he will be banned for a number of games – although he could also be completely cleared – we’ll just have to wait and see.
Rafa was asked in his interviews yesterday about Shelvey’s possible ban and understandably Rafa didn’t want to talk about the specifics of the case.
But he did talk about what may have to happen is Shelvey is banned and he also talked about the qualities of the skillful central midfielder.
This is what Rafa said:
“Jonjo’s fine. At the moment, it’s fine.” “We are looking forward to it.”
“I can’t say too much.” “We will have to wait.” “He’s really important. He’s a player with quality who can make a difference in the games.”
“If he’s not available, we can use another one. We would have to change the way we approach the game a little bit.”
With Jonjo asking for a personal appearance he is available for the Leeds game tomorrow, but then the charge could be upheld next week.
It looks like he could miss the League Cup quarter final tie at Hull City on November 29th, but the rest of the games we have are against lower league opposition, so hopefully we will be able to manage without him.
What do you think?