Newcastle midfielder Jonjo Shelvey will be hoping better times lie ahead under a new manager at St James’ Park, after last season ended up being a bit of a nightmare for him.
Having struggled with injury throughout much of the campaign, he then could not force his way back into the starting line-up, such was the emergence of Sean Longstaff and his partnership with Isaac Hayden.
But even after Longstaff’s season-ending injury, Rafa Benitez looked away from reintegrating Shelvey, preferring to play Mo Diame and Ki Sung Yueng in the midfield role.
Despite many fans calling for the former Liverpool and Swansea man to come back into the side, he remained on the bench, at times looking less than happy about it.
He made just 16 Premier League appearances last season, and started just 10 times, scoring only one goal – in his man of the match performance against Fulham in the final game.
It led to most fans thinking his time on Tyneside was coming to an end, and selling the player this summer looked likely.
Jonjo Shelvey has shown he is hungry to return to the first team
But Shelvey – having shown a great attitude by asking to play for the reserve side in a bid to improve his match fitness – spoke on the club’s official website earlier in the summer to claim he was determined to win his place in the side back.
He also said he was training all off-season to come back at peak fitness.
With Benitez now gone and Steve Bruce taking over, Shelvey will be hoping to get the second chance he craves.
When he is on form, there is not a better passer of the ball in England, and with the massive improvements he has made to his disciplinary record, he could yet prove to be the long-term partner for Sean Longstaff in the Magpies’ midfield.
It is certainly a big season for the 27-year-old, with him entering the final year of his current deal next summer, and failure to secure a new contract will almost certainly make this his final one on Tyneside.