Jonjo Shelvey returned to action in the 3-0 defeat to West Ham, but it wasn’t a happy occasion.
The midfielder came on as a substitute in the second half, but was unable to inspire a black and white comeback.
With Newcastle chasing the game, Rafa Benitez turned to his number eight, deploying him in midfield alongside both Mo Diame and Ki Sung-yueng.
It was the first time we’d seen all three players at the same time, and it’s fair to say it didn’t work.
Shelvey’s position is massively under threat
It looked like a huge blow when the England international went down injured against Watford.
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However, he was replaced by Ki, and the South Korean hasn’t looked back since. He’s been the Magpies’ best player, dictating play with his calm style in possession.
But Newcastle needed something extra on Saturday, which is why Shelvey was introduced. However, he had zero impact.
Despite many long balls and attempted killer passes, nothing came off for the 26-year-old.
Last season, Shelvey was key to any success Newcastle had. This season though, it’s a different story. And that might be down to a different style of play.
Dwight Gayle led the line last season, and his runs in behind were often picked out by Shelvey. Now it’s Salomon Rondon, who plays with his back to goal and bullies defenders.
Yet still Shelvey plays balls into the channels that Rondon just isn’t going to get to.
The midfielder needs to tweak his game to suit the players around him, otherwise he’ll be stuck on the bench unable to get back into Benitez’s team.