Rafa Reveals Logic Of How To Use Shelvey Yesterday

It turns out that Jonjo Shelvey had a high fever on Friday and wasn’t passed fit to play yesterday.

But he did start on the bench and we suppose in an emergency he came on for the final 12 minutes to try to help Newcastle get the winner.

Rafa must have been tempted to start the 24 year-old even though he wasn’t feeling well, since in the five games we played without Shelvey over the Christmas period, Newcastle lacked creativity and didn’t look a good side without him.

Mohamed Diame came in for Jonjo in central midfield alongside Jack Colback and he did OK.

Jonjo Shelvey and Rafa Benitez in training

This is how Rafa explained after the game his logic about how to use Jonjo, which ended up in a  disappointing  0-0 draw:

“Jonjo had a high fever yesterday and the doctor told me this morning he wasn’t too sure whether he could start.

“I decided it would be better to try to manage the game with fresher legs and players who had trained.”

“And then with him it was a case of maybe trying to change something by playing him in the last 15 minutes.”

The good news is Jonjo will be fine for the game in two weeks time at home to Wigan, who beat Birmingham 1-0 at St. Andrew’s on 7th March.

We could also have defensive midfielder Issac Hayden back from his ankle injury and hopefully defender Ciaran Clark could also be fit from his knee injury, although he may still be doubtful.

Here’s hoping both players will be fit, since they have been two of our best performers this season and we need them in the side.

We must start winning games again  and this is the first time this season we have gone three successive league games without a win.


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Comments welcome.

27 comments so far

  • G

    Mar 19, 2017 at 8:40 AM

    Comment #1

    Sorry Ed, but I was at that game, and Diame did far from ok. His control was shocking. One of the worst games I have seen him play for us.

  • posada

    Mar 19, 2017 at 8:47 AM

    Comment #2

    Nufc.com also saying Diame was poor.

  • sing in the corner

    Mar 19, 2017 at 8:47 AM

    Comment #3

    I’ve never subscribed to the popular view that Diame should play in central midfield for us in this team. Too slow, he can do little bursts forward but hasn’t the engine any more to sustain it. Shelvey has the creative passing to make up for his own lesser mobility as long as someone else does the graft. With Diame in centrally we are back to the old familiar problem.

  • catchy in norway

    Mar 19, 2017 at 8:51 AM

    Comment #4

    in hindsight yesterday wasn’t that bad, it’s a point gained.

    i tried listening to it while playing 5 aside, so i didn’t really get a feel for how we played until the last 10 minutes, and got to say i was kind of gutted, but when i read the reports after i have to say the ref cost is the game, while i would like us to score more than just one goal, 1 more than the other team is all that is needed, and we did that.

    i guess i’m happy that both teams behind us dropped points.

    i cannot say i’m happy with the timing of Rafas subs, i feel he leaves them to late to have an impact

  • posada

    Mar 19, 2017 at 8:53 AM

    Comment #5

    Diame with Colback might just be ok. As you say he’s playing with someone to do the graft for him.
    But, diame with Shelvey. Who’s gonna do the graft.
    Might work at home if we are absolutely dominating a poor side. Not often that happens.

  • Hail Wor Ashley

    Mar 19, 2017 at 9:05 AM

    Comment #6


    Just pragmatically looking forward. I’m sure Rafa and his team are doing much the same. No stress here.

    Just want us to be the best we can and that includes upgrades throughout the first XI and saying thanks for your service and to contributing getting us back up, but it’s time to move on, to the likes of Gouffran, Anita, Mitrovic, Colback, Murphy and even possibly the likes of Diame who I was very pleased with us signing, but aside from a purple patch in December and early Jan hasn’t shown anything near his best and has been very disappointing in the scoring and creating stakes, seems to be one that hit an early peak and is on the decline.

    Rafa built an emergency bespoke squad to achieve the sole objective of promotion from the Championship, we hopefully see the real rebuild in the summer if we get promoted.

  • Hail Wor Ashley

    Mar 19, 2017 at 9:07 AM

    Comment #7

    see the beginnings of the real rebuild*

    I’m not one of those advocating we would need 10 players just to have a chance of staying up, as was ludicrously suggested by a poster a week or so ago.

  • sing in the corner

    Mar 19, 2017 at 9:16 AM

    Comment #8

    Fair enough. I totally agree about Diame. Very underwhelmed with him, I would question his desire now. Inconsistency is very apparent. Not sure he cares all that much and seems very aware of his own limitations all of a sudden. It’s usually good for the club when a player stops playing intl football, but I think it says alot in other ways. (He realises he is on the decline.)

  • Hail Wor Ashley

    Mar 19, 2017 at 9:20 AM

    Comment #9

    Yeah was a 1 in 3-4 man for Hull in the Championship and created a lot more, was their best player. Here he’s a 1 in 7-8 and doesn’t seem to have the same desire and I think not only is he on the decline, but a lot of teams will have taken note last season with Hull how influential he was, same teams this time around will surely have been more wise to his game.

  • Colombus

    Mar 19, 2017 at 9:22 AM

    Comment #10

    Not too bad when you look at the highlights… But I feel that the main concern in the last three games has been the lack of tempo in the middle of the park. Shelvey, with his brilliant passing ability, needs to get those drumsticks going! The Leeds-game away would be my favourite game of the season and Shelvey played a massive part in that, Dictating the game with more movement and higher rythm. Let’s hope we can get him going during the upcoming break. I also think Hayden could be massive for us in the run in. I believe we desperately need someone in midfield who can stretch the opposition with good runs in ti the box

  • manxpie

    Mar 19, 2017 at 9:23 AM

    Comment #11

    The more I see of diame the more I think we have re-signed shola
    I’m starting to wonder if he really is 29 tbh certainly a big let down this season

  • posada

    Mar 19, 2017 at 9:26 AM

    Comment #12

    The big worry with Diame is that Rafa keeps picking him.
    Can’t think why.
    Every now and again he will burst past a couple of players using his strength and make something happen.
    Not happened in recent games and don’t think you can depend on it.

  • Jib

    Mar 19, 2017 at 9:30 AM

    Comment #13

    When KK took us up as champions of the old Division 1 with West Ham and Swindon in the spring of 1993 Kev was quite ruthless –
    Franz Carr , Andy Hunt , David Kelly , Mark Stimson , Alan Thompson , Gavin Peacock ,Tommy Wright – were all shown the door.

  • Hail Wor Ashley

    Mar 19, 2017 at 9:31 AM

    Comment #14

    Oh and I hope we don’t have another summer of “This is Aarons’ time to shine.”, kid is a crock and overrated in the extreme. On his last comeback he looked a yard shorter of pace and more hesitant. Another bad injury will surely take it’s toll. His time when he should have been developing has been spent on the injury table.

    He’s 21 and essentially still a rookie that isn’t as quick nor as confident as when he first emerged. Get rid if somebody will take him.

  • Mister Tuff

    Mar 19, 2017 at 9:32 AM

    Comment #15

    The real work starts in the summer -building a PL side.
    Need at least half a dozen new players – I think where the hell are we going to get them from.
    Will they be tried and tested mediocre types – will they be unknown superstars in the making – will they be crocks.
    Will the sole plan be to get the first season in the PL -and stay there. How do any objectives fit into Rafa’s plans bearing in mind he only has 2 years left on his contract.

    Yeh – the fun starts in the summer!

  • hibbit

    Mar 19, 2017 at 9:36 AM

    Comment #16

    get up and stay up have to be the first two steps in any plan the club has !!!

  • sing in the corner

    Mar 19, 2017 at 9:37 AM

    Comment #17

    Rafa would slap ya legs. Let’s think about the job in hand, and hopefully enjoy finishing top o the pile.

  • Munster Mag

    Mar 19, 2017 at 9:50 AM

    Comment #18

    jail what was said in the Telegraph? Your funny Irish ref from yesterday? Rugby?

  • Hail Wor Ashley

    Mar 19, 2017 at 9:53 AM

    Comment #19

    The number of players on our books is huge when you consider how little we’ve seen of Gamez, then there’s those out on loan like Krul, SDJ (scored a winner yesterday and now has 4 in 3) who I think Rafa will give serious consideration to.

    Perma crocks like Haidara and Aarons are surely done here, up and coming players like Armstrong and Wooodman.

    Going to be a very busy summer and plenty for Rafa to scratch his heed over.

  • AncientC

    Mar 19, 2017 at 9:58 AM

    Comment #20

    Somebody in the comments section over on ‘The Mag’ is claiming Newcastle have the 8th highest wage bill in English football lol. Where do people come up with this stuff.

    Looking at the highlights – it sure looks like Birmingham had their fair share of chances and should have taken the lead. It is difficult to tell from a highlights reel; so that may not be the case. I am happy with the outcome from the weekend, but praying the football improves soon.

  • Munster Mag

    Mar 19, 2017 at 10:05 AM

    Comment #21

    We do need a bit of form. It’s ages since we played well. Will Rafa attack Wigan at home? Surely little choice? Or will we hear more talk about control of the game as we draw again? Surely not. As an aside who was nufc’s fastest player ever? Frank Carr? Ruel fox?

  • Hail Wor Ashley

    Mar 19, 2017 at 10:08 AM

    Comment #22



  • Belfast

    Mar 19, 2017 at 10:16 AM

    Comment #23

    The aim next season will be to stay in the division no matter what shite gets trotted out. I don’t think the gap between the bottom five in the premier league and top two in the championship is that huge to be honest. Probably be 3-4 players signed if yer lucky. Anyone expecting a transfer war chest and a complete squad overhaul will be deeply disappointed. (Sorry Ketsbia)

  • Tsunki

    Mar 19, 2017 at 10:23 AM

    Comment #24


  • sing in the corner

    Mar 19, 2017 at 10:23 AM

    Comment #25

    That’s life I guess. I fully expect to read / hear some Newcastle supporters lambasting the team if we’re not challenging in the top six next season, blaming not signing 8 established world beaters.
    In the real world we need to be canny, sign 4ish good quality players, bring through a couple of prospects from the young uns, consolidate and build.

  • Tsunki

    Mar 19, 2017 at 10:32 AM

    Comment #26

    Site – hmm unfortunately “consolidation” has been the overriding financial remit and it has got us where we are now. I will be shocked to see that plan alter in any remarkable fashion once (if) we get promoted.

  • Moonraker15

    Mar 19, 2017 at 11:26 AM

    Comment #27

    Aaron’s is another Lua lua! Lots of promise and no substance!


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