Jonjo Shelvey was one of Newcastle United’s star performers in their 1-0 win over West Ham today, and the midfield maestro was quick to praise new manager Steve Bruce.
In a post-match interview with Sky Sports, Shelvey commented on the immediate impact of Bruce, and suggested he favoured his style over fan favourite Rafa Benitez.
Shelvey said of Bruce: ” He’s a lot different to Rafa. You never knew what Rafa was thinking. Personally as a player I’d rather have someone who talks to you.
“He has made a massive difference, it could be good for me and I probably needed that change.”
But although appearing to prefer Bruce, Shelvey was also quick to assert he still had huge respect for his former manager.
He told Sky: “That’s not knocking Rafa, he was a terrific manager for me personally.
“I understand the fans are disappointed. We had three great seasons under Rafa but it wasn’t to be and we’ve got to all move on.”
It may come as a surprise to fans that a player is already gelling better with Bruce, but given Shelvey’s performances last season, he was always going to relish a clean slate.
Bruce appointment gives Shelvey a second chance
Despite being a stalwart under Benitez for two seasons, Shelvey became something of a peripheral figure last year.
The former Swansea man struggled with injury and whenever he did play he seemed to always be on the losing side.
Benitez’s five at the back formation meant the playmaker had to work more defensively than he was used to, and youngster Sean Longstaff soon forced him out of the team.
But against West Ham today, the midfielder impressed with a return to a more comfortable deep-lying role.
It seems Bruce is willing to let Shelvey back into the fold, as the departure of Mo Diame has moved him back up the pecking order.
Shelvey himself is also clearly feeling more comfortable at Newcastle after a summer of speculation over his future.
He told Sky: “I hope its a big season for me.
“That role suits me and I can get on the ball a lot more. It allows me to play forward passes.”
Shelvey is certainly a talent, and let’s hope Bruce can reignite his early 2018 form.