Newcastle picked up a hugely important 3-2 win at West Ham on Saturday, with Jonjo Shelvey’s performance, which saw him score one and hit the crossbar, seeing him return to his best.
It also caught the eye of BBC pundit Garth Crooks, who named him in his Premier League team of the week, but one Toon star was conspicuous by his absence.
Allan Saint-Maximin was virtually unplayable on Saturday, with him tormenting the Hammers back line time and again, which twice saw him get one-on-one with the goalkeeper.
His failure to score was the only down-side to his performance, but with many more displays like this, the goals look certain to follow soon.
A surprise name in the starting lineup, Shelvey controlled the game, along with the impressive Isaac Hayden, and between them, they snuffed out a West Ham midfield that contained the overshadowed Declan Rice.
Shelvey must play at this level every week
Ultimately, it seems Shelvey’s goal – a long-range free-kick which beat the keeper low to his left – saw him grab the spot in the former Tottenham star’s Premier League XI.
On Shelvey’s display, Crooks said: “Against West Ham, Shelvey demonstrated just how effective he can be on the ball.”
But he also spoke of the problem Steve Bruce may have in the coming weeks, by stressing the importance of managing Shelvey properly, and getting future midfield selections right, when everyone is available.
Crooks said: “The dilemma for Magpies manager Steve Bruce is: does he stick with Shelvey or return to those who can regularly provide the grit and the endeavour?
“If Bruce wants the credit Rafa Bentitez received from the Newcastle fans, he will need to get those decisions right first.”
Of course, Shelvey can help to make Bruce’s decision easier, by continuing to perform at this level. But if he returns to the player who could not string two passes together, from earlier this season, he could find himself out of the side again.
It is a big challenge for him to keep his form high, and if he does, he may yet make me eat my words when I called for him to be sold in January.