Eddie Howe should start Jonjo Shelvey for the first time this season on Wednesday

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Eddie Howe should start Jonjo Shelvey for the first time this season on Wednesday

Newcastle United face Crystal Palace on Wednesday night, and it is the perfect chance for Eddie Howe to give Jonjo Shelvey his first start of the season.

The midfielder is now back after picking up a hamstring injury during pre-season, and has featured off the bench in the Magpies’ last three games.

It means that Shelvey has now triggered a one-year contract extension, keeping him at St James’ Park until 2024. That’s excellent news for the 30-year-old, who is keen to remain with the club.

However, he has some catching up to do this season. In Shelvey’s absence, the Magpies have been sensational. Howe’s men have only lost one out of 14 Premier League games, and are third in the table.

It’s difficult to see how Shelvey gets into the starting XI, but the midweek Carabao Cup clash with Palace could create an opportunity for him.

Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Shelvey should start in place of Bruno vs Palace

Howe recently said that Shelvey is pushing for a start, and his dream should become a reality on Wednesday night. Newcastle welcome Crystal Palace to St James’ Park, with both sides competing for a place in the fourth round of the League Cup.

While Howe will be keen to go on a cup run, his side also have a huge game against Chelsea on Saturday. Therefore, the Palace game is a good chance for Howe to utilise the squad depth he suddenly has with players returning from injury.

And it is the perfect time for Shelvey to start his first competitive Newcastle game since April. It will be a good test to see where he is at physically before domestic football pauses for the World Cup.

Newcastle’s number eight is best played as the ‘six’ in midfield, which is where Bruno Guimaraes has played all season. Howe should possibly have one eye on the Chelsea game, and rest Bruno for the clash with Graham Potter’s side.

That’s not to say Howe won’t take the League Cup seriously. He absolutely will, but it is also a chance to get some minutes into the legs of some of the fringe players or those returning from injury.

Shelvey falls into the latter category, and Howe will eventually be keen to find a place for him in his starting XI. He had been a consistent starter until his injury woes.

Starting Shelvey can help Newcastle in various ways. It rewards him for recovering from injury early, while it also gives Bruno a bit of a rest before facing Chelsea. The schedule has been intense lately, and the Brazilian has played a lot of football (no doubt with limited sleep due to the birth of his first child).

Howe needs to manage his players carefully in these final two games before the World Cup, and that should create an opening for Shelvey to start for the first time this season.