Newcastle United midfielder Jonjo Shelvey has dismissed suggestions West Ham United have a better squad than the Magpies, and single out teammate Allan Saint-Maximin for praise.
Steve Bruce’s side prepare to host the Hammers this weekend, and it’s a tough game for the hosts.
West Ham are in fantastic form right now and are currently fourth in the table.
They have genuine hopes of qualifying for next season’s Champions League.
They’re 23 points ahead of Newcastle in the Premier League table, but Shelvey – a boyhood Hammer – has rejected the notion their squad is any better than the Toon’s.
He told talkSPORT: “The squad we’ve got on paper, I don’t think theirs is better than ours, to be honest. I think we’ve got a great squad, we just haven’t performed to the level we can. It’s only recently we’ve picked up a few better results.
Shelvey then got to talking about man of the moment Saint-Maximin, who’s talent may well end up going some way to keeping the club in the top-flight.
“He’s absolutely outstanding, he’s what you want in a team, he’s a game-changer and he gets fans off their seats.
He added: “He’s a big character in the dressing room and it’s just important he stays fit now and gets us back to where we can be.”
Shelvey’s not totally wrong
When you compare Newcastle’s squad of players to West Ham’s, the quality is similar.
The Hammers boast a handful of standout players such as Lukasz Fabianski, Declan Rice, Tomas Soucek, Jarrod Bowen, Jesse Lingard and Michail Antonio.
But Newcastle have their fair share of talent with the likes of Martin Dubravka, Miguel Almiron, Isaac Hayden, Saint-Maximin and Callum Wilson.
Arguably, the other players in the Irons’ squad are generally better than Newcastle’s.
Unfortunately, Newcastle’s crop are hamstrung by a poor manager, who lacks a decent record of picking up results in the Premier League, and is not a good tactician or developer of talent.