Jonjo Shelvey did not make a good start to the season when he was sent of early in the second half of our very first game at home to Spurs.
At the time we were doing very well against the London club but they ran out 2-0 winners, and we lost some points in the game because Jonjo lost his discipline.
Rafa talked to him the next day about what he had to do to control his demons on the pitch, and it remains to be seen if he can do that this season.
Jonjo Shelvey with Rafa Benitez
Jonjo has today been raving about the team spirit of the team under Rafa today, and he had this to say in the Chronicle about last season in the Championship:
“Last year, I think the club needed that, to be fair – to drop down a league and get that spine back to this football club.”
“It was a good time, last year. We had a lot of fun in the team and we just tried to continue that team spirit over the summer.”
“We’re always chatting on the WhatsApp group and doing dinners and things like that.”
“There’s a great team spirit.”
“Everyone in this squad works for each other – you’ll run that extra 10 yards for your team-mate because we’ve got such a good bond.”
“I think that started since Rafa came into the fold.”
“He bought players last year who knew that league and had that team spirit and togetherness.”
“I think that’s what got us promoted.”
“We’ve got to keep maintaining that.”
Good words there from Jonjo.
Jonjo Shelvey has loads of skill, there’s no doubt about that, but until he can prove to Rafa that he can control his demons on the pitch long term, he will still be on trial at Newcastle.
Well, at least as far as the manager is concerned.
The good news is that he’s getting help from the club and taking anger management lessons – so hopefully that can do the trick for him.
We hope so because Jonjo can still improve an awful lot under the savvy guidance of Rafa Benitez.