Jonjo Shelvey and Matt Ritchie penned new deals on March 6th, keeping them at Newcastle until 2023. Though that was just over two months ago, it seems like another time and age.
??2??0??2??3??#NUFC are delighted to announce that Jonjo Shelvey and Matt Ritchie have both signed a new three-year deal with the club!
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) March 6, 2020
For all intents and purposes, it was. Newcastle defeated Southampton 1-0 the following day. That was the last time we saw the lads play. It could also have been the final game of the Ashley era.
Both Ritchie and Shelvey have given interviews to the Newcastle website recently. Ritchie spoke out a week ago as he revealed what life was like during the lockdown.
However, this past week it was Shelvey’s turn. The 28-year-old maintains that he has not been idle while under quarantine.
This is what the midfielder told nufc.co.uk about keeping fit over the past few months.
“I’m probably even fitter now than when lockdown started. I’ve been training three times a day.
“We all get watches and it downloads automatically onto the club’s system and shows what you’ve been doing.
“As a footballer, you can’t get away with not putting the work in. If you’re overweight, you get fined.
“You also don’t want to be the one who falls behind in the running. It’s important you stay on top of that.
“I’ve seen a few of the lads out running but you have to keep a social distance so we just nod and wave at each other.
“Everyone’s doing ok but we’re looking forward to seeing everyone once it’s safe to do so.”
Apparently, that’s not lip service from the playmaker. The Daily Star is revealing that Newcastle are astonished at the fitness data Shelvey is downloading.
According to sources, Shelvey’s is off the charts. This is what the Star reports:
The squad are having to send in data on a daily basis to the club’s sports science team – and Shelvey’s figures are off the scale, according to a club insider.
The 28-year-old has a gym and a mini-football pitch at his Northumberland home where he has been training with his brother in law whose family are self-isolating with the family.
Shelvey has matured immensely over the past few seasons. He’s grown into a leader and was the stand-in captain when Jamaal Lascelles went down with his knee injury against Bournemouth in November.
If Newcastle are taken over by the Saudi-backed consortium, Shelvey will face more battles to keep his place. He seems more than up for that challenge.