Ahead of Newcastle United’s Premier League clash against West Ham United, the Magpies boss Rafael Benitez has revealed that he has held a heart-to-heart chat with Jonjo Shelvey about the player’s short-term future at the club.
The 27-year-old has struggled with a thigh injury which required treatment from a specialist in Barcelona. Although he has declared himself fit to play, Benitez feels he is not ready for Premier League action yet.
During a meeting at the club’s training ground, Benitez has told Shelvey that he hasn’t done enough to make it into the squad for the trip to London Stadium.
The midfielder was told that he is still short of match fitness. The former Liverpool midfielder thereby requested Benitez to play for United’s U23 side away to Fulham on Friday night.
“It is very clear – I said it’s down to match fitness, and he has to play matches,” said Benitez to the Chronicle.
“He knows that he will not be involved this weekend and we were talking about that. He said he wanted to have 45 minutes to 60 minutes under his belt.
“I think it’s fine. For me it is a very positive movement on his part. Jonjo Shelvey was asking me to play for the Under-23s because he knows he as to play games. So he played with them last night.”
Shelvey, who has made only 11 Premier League appearances this season, was left out of the third squad running after returning from the treatment room.
Furthermore, Rafa is struggling to fit in Shelvey, Mo Diame and Ki due to the impressive form of Sean Longstaff and Isaac Hayden, both are expected to start against the Hammers.