Jonjo Shelvey is out of Newcastle’s game at Leicester with a tear to his hamstring, as reported by the Chronicle following Steve Bruce’s press conference on Friday.
Bruce confirmed that he picked up a grade 2 tear during the Brighton game last weekend, and will miss today’s match at Leicester and the visit of Manchester United next week.
Many fans will hardly be distraught at the prospect of the former Liverpool midfielder being the latest absentee, with his performances being extremely poor in recent weeks.
Of course, if he has been feeling his thigh for a few weeks, before it finally went, it could be a reason why his performances have been so lacklustre.
But in a bizarre twist, his non-appearance should actually improve Newcastle’s chances against the Foxes, while also making the team selection a bit easier for Bruce.
He confirmed that Sean Longstaff has trained all week, having been an absentee for the past couple of games, and his return to partner Isaac Hayden in midfield will see Newcastle have a bit more bite in the middle of the park.
Newcastle could win the midfield battle at Leicester
With James Maddison ruled out for Leicester, having last season’s dynamic duo of Longstaff and Hayden in the middle, could see Newcastle gain the upper-hand in the midfield trenches.
It could depend, however, on Longstaff rediscovering much of his form from last season, because when he does, Newcastle can start to control longer periods of games.
Having the security of that pair in front of the central defensive three, should give more licence to Allan Saint-Maximin – who is also available – and probably Christian Atsu, as Miguel Almiron almost certainly drops down to the bench.
It will be an intriguing, if not particularly exciting, contest, and I have an inkling that Newcastle will get something from the game. Shelvey’s absence has only seemed to increase my confidence.