Rafa Benitez believes that Jonjo Shelvey made a mistake when he allegedly abused a Wolves player and was charged by the FA for misconduct and then this week lost his appeal against the charge and must now serve a five game ban and pay a £100K fine.
Jonjo is a challenge for Rafa as a coach, but there are definite signs that the former Liverpool player is more consistent this season and really wants to control these wayward tendencies on the pitch and he has no better teacher to do that than Rafa Benitez.
But there have been at least a couple of times where his indiscipline showed – the other obvious time was when he lashed out at Henri Lansbury, but that red card was quickly rescinded by the FA after the 2-1 defeat at Nottingham Forest.
Rafa Benitez and Jonjo Shelvey at QPR this season
We have a chance next Friday night to take Forest to the cleaners at St. James’ Park.
This is what Rafa has said in the Chronicle today about Jonjo Shelvey:
“As we’ve already said in our statement, we support him because for me it was a very confused situation.”
“The main thing is he knows that he has to be careful in the future and just concentrate on his football. We know we will not have him for the next five games and that’s it.”
“Strange things happen on the pitch and everyone is referring to this issue, but we continue to support him – we don’t support him in the way of the alleged language, but that he was making a mistake.”
“We know that maybe he made a mistake but what people say he said, maybe he didn’t say, so it is very confused.” “What we have to do is move on and start thinking about the future.”
“We know what they said, we know what we said and how things have come out, but it is still very confused.”
“I have been playing football all my life, so to be there on the pitch with a lot of players, someone was hearing one thing, someone else something else, others, nothing at all.”
“He knows he made a mistake but at the same time we think it is a big punishment for him and for us.” “That it’s we have to move on and start thinking about Sheffield.”
“He is a great player doing a great job for us.” “He’s learning every week and I hope he will be more mature after all these things.”
“We saw again at Nottingham Forest that there was a little problem, but after the red card against Forest was rescinded.”
“Sometimes we don’t understand why things happen but we have to concentrate on our football.”
“I will tell you after five matches whether we will miss him.” “We have enough options.”
“Obviously it will be different, we cannot hide this, but we have options and we still have other good players.”
“We can manage.”
Those are excellent words from Rafa Benitez – down to earth – explaining the situation and some communication directly to Shelvey about the future.
Rafa’s right that Shelvey is a great player who can get even better if he has a little more discipline.
There are options for Newcastle with Jonjo out and the likely one is that local lad Jack Colback comes in and he’s very rarely let the side down when he’s been asked to do a specific job for Newcastle.
Vurnon Anita can play there as can Mo Diame and it could be a chance for the young and talented Isaac Hayden to be given a free role in the middle of the park.
We’ll know more after the game against Sheffield Wednesday on Monday night, but we must get all 3 points in that game in front of another sell-out crowd of over 52,000.