Jonjo Shelvey will wish he’d never picked up that injury against Watford.
Up until that moment, it wasn’t worth considering that he wouldn’t be a regular starter for Newcastle. But since then, Ki Sung-yueng has stepped up to the plate and taken Shelvey’s place.
The South Korean midfielder has been one of Newcastle’s best players in recent weeks, proving to be a calming influence in the middle of the park.
He’s a different player to Shelvey, and the type of player that the Magpies have needed. Ki keeps it simple, dictates play but doesn’t over complicate things.
Saturday would be a great chance for Shelvey
It is unlikely that the former Liverpool midfielder will start against Huddersfield. He missed the 2-1 defeat to Wolves, but will hopefully be back for the trip to the John Smiths Stadium. However, he was not pictured in training on Thursday.
Rafa Benitez has a settled midfield pair in Ki and Mo Diame. However, with the busy Christmas period coming, Benitez needs to be able to rely on all of his players.
Providing he is fit, Shelvey should be given at least half an hour of action to prove he can still play an important role in black and white. The game against Huddersfield is the perfect opportunity. With Aaron Mooy set to miss out due to injury, the midfield battle is there for Newcastle to take.
If they can take control of centre midfield, then it will be a great chance for Shelvey to get on the ball and show what he can do. On his day, he’s a glorious passer of a ball. However, when things aren’t going his or the team’s way, he can force things and actually be a detriment to the side.
The 26-year-old’s last appearance was in the 3-0 defeat to West Ham, where he was unable to influence proceedings off the bench. Huddersfield will be a very different game, and hopefully one where Shelvey can get some confidence and win back the faith of his manager.
Fingers crossed he’s passed fit…