One big surprise this season is how Sean Longstaff and Isaac Hayden formed an excellent central midfield partnership and when Jonjo Shelvey, Ki, and Mo Diame were available again they couldn’t get back into the side.
Longstaff and Hayden seemed to complement each other in midfield and put in some sterling performance in the middle of the park against some top opposition.
But then Sean injured his knee ligaments at the London Stadium and will be out for the rest of the season, so it gives the three more experienced midfielders a chance to get back into the side and the starting lineup.
Ki started on Saturday in place of Longstaff against Everton and with 11 minutes to go on came Jonjo Shelvey for his first appearance since early January.
He played well and was on the pitch when Ayoze Perez scored his amazing brace to change the result from losing to winning.
It was an unbelievable second-half performance by Newcastle.
Jonjo Shelvey – will give 100% in training and everything he does
Jonjo Shelvey is absolutely determined to make a contribution to Newcastle in the final eight games of the season.
This is some of what he has said in the Chronicle today talking initially about Hayden and Longstaff:
“They’ve done very well. I’m not going to lie, they’ve been brilliant.”
“But I still feel like I’ve got a lot to offer this football club – and I know that, if I’m on top of my game, then I can play at this football club, without a shadow of a doubt.”
“It’s just something I’ve got to show in training and, when I do get the chance to play, just to show the gaffer that I’m worthy of my spot in the team.”
“I just think it’s hard work. Literally every session, it’s pedal to the metal. You do the things the manager wants you to do.”
“And that’s the only way you’re going to get back into the team.”
“Probably a bit of luck too. It’s just making sure you’re ready to train at 100% every day and, any minute you do get on the football pitch, showing him that you’re worthy of a spot.”
“I feel a lot better now, a lot fitter. The running I’ve been doing – I just did two to three weeks of solid running without a ball.”
“It makes you want to be sick after the session, to be fair, but once you have a shower, you feel unbelievable.”
That’s just an excellent attitude coming from one of our most experienced and skilled Newcastle players.
With Jonjo, Ki and Mo Diame chomping at the bit to start for Newcastle again that has to augur well for Newcastle in our final 8 games of the season.
Last season we won four and lost four of the final 8 games for 12 points.
This season we can potentially do a lot better than that.
In our previous 8 games, we have 16 points and if we repeat that in the final 8 games – we will end up with 50 points.
That would add up to an unbelievable season.