Sky Sports pundit Don Goodman has identified Jonjo Shelvey as Newcastle’s most important (key) player and he admits he has skipped maybe a more obvious choice in 20 goal scorer Dwight Gayle.
But after all, since Dwight has been out since the game at Brentford – apart from an aborted 31 minutes against Aston Villa – Newcastle have played eight Championship games and won five and drawn three.
So others have stepped up to the plate to score 16 goals in those eight games – an average of two a game.
That’s slightly better than our full season average of 66 goals in 34 games and we have 18 points form those 8 games.
Jonjo Shelvey – going berserk and trying to fly on Tuesday night
If we can continue that average through the end of the season we will have 97 points and an automatic promotion spot.
When we were without Jonjo Shelvey for those five games because of his suspension towards the end of last year, we won only two and drew two although two of those games were against Birmingham City in the FA Cup.
But we had absolutely nobody who could do what Jonjo does best – control a game and spray passes all over the place.
This is why Don Goodman thinks Jonjo Shelvey is our most important player:
“It would have been easy to go for Dwight Gayle, but Shelvey makes them tick – he is phenomenal.”
“He has had to spend a season outside the Premier League and either way it was only ever going to be one because if Newcastle weren’t to get back up, I’m sure there would be many Premier League clubs who would take him.”
“Everything goes through him, he scores goals, he assists and he is a competitor, and in the Championship you need competitors.”
“Sometimes he steps over the line, but Newcastle are lucky to have him.”
Jonjo has improved under the coaching of Rafa Benitez and the manager has made Jonjo see some sense and he’s a much more controlled player these days on the pitch.
But he’s not perfect and opposition players are always going to test him, but he really has had a great season for us after basically being dropped by Rafa towards the end of last season.
Credit has to go to Jonjo for doing everything he can to improve under the world-class coaching of Benitez.
In that sense he’s not unlike a lot of Newcastle players who are better players now than they were in the summer.
What do you think?