Jonjo Shelvey captained the U23 side last night, and they drew 2-2 against Norwich City after having taken a 2-0 lead.
It was a good time to give Jonjo some match practice after he has served his three match ban for being sent off against Tottenham in our first game of the season and he played the full 90 minutes last night.
Mikel Merino was preferred to Shelvey on Sunday at Swansea, and he had another outstanding game for the Magpies and Jonjo didn’t manage to get on in that 1-0 win.
But Jonjo will have an important part to play this season for the Magpies, and he could see some playing time at home to Stoke City on Saturday afternoon.
The U23 manager Peter Beardsley is often full in his praise for his players, and he made no exception for Jonjo last night.
Jonjo Shelvey in action yesterday for the U23 side
This is what Peter Beardsley told the Chronicle after the game:
“It was great for the young players to have 90 minutes with Jonjo Shelvey.” “We were intending to take him off, but Curtis Good had a groin strain.”
“Because of that we took no risks.” “But the way Jonjo was around the group, he was top class.”
“It is a big bonus for the young players to have those 90 minutes and the time with him during the pre-match period.”
“He doesn’t have a negative bone in his body.” “He is always looking to play the ball forward.”
“That is a quality you can’t give people.”
“You look at his shot from his own half and people probably wondered what he was doing, but as it got closer it almost caught the keeper out.”
“As soon as it left his foot it had a chance.” “It would have been brilliant and a mark of what he does.”
“He can hit the ball further than anybody I’ve seen.”
“So many times people say 2-0 is a dangerous lead and you think they’re talking rubbish because surely you’d always take that.”
“But last night proved that 2-0 is a dangerous lead.” “Fair play to Norwich they kept going.”
“They played some nice stuff and while we had a great chance at the death, they probably looked the most likely to win it.”
“Our legs had gone a bit and maybe some energy had gone.”
“When you are 2-0 up your energy does go, I have been there myself.”
One of the significant challenges Shelvey has this season is to control his aggression on the field, and he did not start well by stamping on Dele Alli’s leg right in front of the referee in the Spurs game and was sent off.
If he cannot control himself during games, we cannot see Rafa Benitez keeping him at the club, although the manager is supporting him fully at the moment.
Rafa doesn’t like players who can lose the game in an instant of indiscipline – which is really what Jonjo did against Spurs when the game plan was working so well.
We are hoping Jonjo can improve in that particular area this season because there is no doubt he can be a top player for us when he’s at his best.
What do you think?