Considered the best player for Newcastle United, Jonjo Shelvey isn’t proving his worth with his actions or play.
As I wrote a couple weeks back, Newcastle United desperately needs Jonjo Shelvey to play like the star his ability dictates he is. Since then, he’s fallen out of favor with Rafa Benitez and didn’t start for a few matches. Then, in his return to the starting lineup against Everton, he played poorly most of the match and was sent off late. His stoppage-time red card earns him a two-match ban.
If you scrolled through Twitter after the loss, you saw a lot of harsh criticisms of Shelvey. Typically, I would say the internet is being too harsh and people need to ease up. But, this is nobody’s fault but Shelvey. He does not take over matches like he has the ability to and he continues to let his temper get the best of him.
Why try to attempt that reckless challenge in added time? He was frustrated with an inevitable loss and took it out on an opponent. As many times as he says, “I’ve worked on my anger, I’m a new man,” he goes back to his brash behavior. Let’s not forget, it was around this time last year that he was facing a misconduct charge from the FA for incredibly insensitive and inappropriate racial language vs. Wolves.
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That incident led to a five-match ban during the Championship season. Newcastle was able to navigate the lower league without him, but they’re floundering in the top division and will now be without one of their best players. I would not be shocked if Rafa keeps Shelvey out for more than the two matches to show him that this behavior isn’t acceptable, just as he did after his opening match incident with Dele Alli this season.
The eternal optimist in me hopes Jonjo Shelvey returns from this ban motivated and remorseful. He let his teammates down again and needs to earn their trust, along with Toon Army. If Newcastle United avoids relegation this season, it will be in large part due to contributions from Shelvey, if he can return to star status.