Benitez On His Selection Criteria And Why Anybody Can Be Dropped

The Chronicle has interviewed Rafa Benitez about why Jonjo Shelvey has not started the last two games and the manager has given a rather terse response.

In the old days if we paid a big fee for a player he would start in every game even if he was obviously off form and even if he was carrying a slight injury.

There was no real competition for places in the side so the top players knew they would play in every game.

That’s definitely not the case with Rafa Benitez who has taken the opportunity to tell fans and players alike how he picks the side.

Jonjo Shelvey – in action against his former club Liverpool

This is what Rafa said:

“The same reason why, when I pick him, he makes the team; he is a good player, sometimes he can be there, sometimes he cannot be there.”

“But it is exactly the same with Isaac Hayden or with Mikel Merino or with Jamaal Lascelles, or with anyone.”

“For me, some players could be different in terms of the quality that they have, but still all of them – they will be important at different parts of the season.”

“Maybe some of them will be more important during the whole season, maybe some of them just part of the season.”

“I don’t know if he’s better in goal than the ‘keepers.””It depends on the position,”

“I don’t know if he is better in front of goal than Dwight Gayle, so it depends on the position.”

“Is he an important player for us? Yes. But he has to compete just like everybody is competing now, and it is the only way for us to succeed.”

“No, discipline is not really an issue for Shelvey. At the moment I think he made one mistake (his red card against Spurs), and then afterward he was in control.”

“So hopefully he can be more mature and manage more.”

Rafa wants all his players at the club to understand if they play for the first team they had better play up to their abilities otherwise they could be left out of the next game.

Rafa is relying heavily on competition for places at the moment to help lift Newcastle up the table.

That’s why it’s good that Paul Dummett, Jamaal Lascelles, and Christian Atsu are now fit again.

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Comments welcome.

10 comments so far

  • DubaiMicky

    Dec 9, 2017 at 9:00 AM

    Comment #1

    bambams (from last post), Qatari money doesn’t work with your last statement that “he made his money from oil”, Qatar doesn’t have oil – it does have a lot of gas though.

    Also no way would a Saudi or an Emirati/Kuwaiti/Bahraini have anything at all to do with a Qatari investor.

    I’ll stick with Majid Al Futtaim and possibly a bit from Saudi.

    It appears the deal is done and agreed – why would they meet in a very public place if it wasn’t – Ashley is now away for Christmas and the lawyers will agree the finer points.

  • Bambams

    Dec 9, 2017 at 9:00 AM

    Comment #2


    I know my source and there will be doubters but he is sound.

    He was originally told the name but couldn’t remember it, we discussed it yesterday and we looked at ‘what names could be in the hat’ there was one that ‘rang a bell ‘ which made me smile.

    But if his source has come up with the response given it’s not possible to share.

    I think we are close to an announcement anyway so all will be revealed – shirts might look nice with ‘Greggs’ across the chest…..

    Only joking !

    Enjoy your day you lot…..i am getting grief for the amount of time I have been on my mobile (married life eh)

  • ShirebrookToon

    Dec 9, 2017 at 9:02 AM

    Comment #3


    I’m with you on the fact the deal is done. Think it was done a while ago just lawyers drawing up paperwork and thrashing out the details

  • toontaff2

    Dec 9, 2017 at 9:06 AM

    Comment #4

    Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa bin Hamad bin Abdullah bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani- or as Jonjo calls him – smelly!

  • ShirebrookToon

    Dec 9, 2017 at 9:06 AM

    Comment #5

    Pic of flags on seats for today’s game

  • Bambams

    Dec 9, 2017 at 9:08 AM

    Comment #6


    Fella the first I was told was Mega MEGA RICH Royalty that made money in oil.

    I have obviously seen the reply by the source, I genuinely believe he gave a little too much and might , might be backtracking a little.

    It was the Royal bit and Mega Rich that got me excited. When we looked at two names….one stuck out but was Saudi (there I have said it). My source thought that one reminded him of what he was told.

    I am only guessing but sometimes a source will go off on a tangent ‘re info given as to not blow themselves out to others.

    I have shared possibly too much but I trust my source 100%.

    Like Hibbit says it will be out soon so we will see the score. I am still happy to share what I am told and if it does not come to fruition then so be it

    Cheers for the craic fella

  • ShirebrookToon

    Dec 9, 2017 at 9:08 AM

    Comment #7

    Don’t forget sheikh weraz yawheeli bingone

  • expatmag

    Dec 9, 2017 at 9:09 AM

    Comment #8


    Frozen prawns?????????…….very dodgy mate.

    One of the pluses of living down under is tbe copious amounts of fresh seafood readily available, suitably washed down with copious amounts of australian whites.

  • DubaiMicky

    Dec 9, 2017 at 9:22 AM

    Comment #10


    “I was told was Mega MEGA RICH Royalty that made money in oil.”

    Then he can only be Saudi (I’ve being saying it was a Saudi for months), admittedly I did change my tune when I was told MAF was the main funder mind you – maybe the guy here is wrong?

    Saudi has always worked for me due to the situation here and the Qatar blockade (UAE/Bahrain/Saudi won’t even allow planes going to Qatar to fly over their airspace, so a 40 minute jump from Dubai to Doha now takes 5 hours via Oman or Iraq).

    Qatar also owns PSG and Saudi despises Qatar (they have a closed land border with Qatar – the only one Qatar has), they’re trying to break Qatar with no food imports etc. It’s all sabre rattling really, but I do not think that Qatar is behind this. Add the fact that the 2022 World Cup (no bribes there) have been secured by Qatar too and the rest of the Middle East has had it’s nose put out of joint by the upstarts in Qatar (who were broke less than a generation ago – and when i say broke I mean there was literally nothing there just 25 years ago.

    If it is, I wonder what the owner will think of Geordie lasses.


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