Newcastle United dropped the curtain on a difficult Premier League season with a compelling 3-0 victory over the 2016/17 champions Chelsea who are disappointingly left without the Champions League spot this year.
Without support from owner Mike Ashley in the transfer window and overall financial department, the 58-year-old Rafa Benitez did wonders with the talent he had at disposal to beat the odds and finish the season in 10th place.
The Magpies found themselves just three points behind Leicester City and five adrift of Everton, who spent lavishly during the summer transfer window.
The 3-0 victory over Chelsea came as a cherry on top of a sour cake for Magpies, who will be looking for a promised upgrade this summer. In the meantime, the Newcastle United supporters were given a pleasure to enjoy another brilliant performance from England midfielder Jonjo Shelvey.
The 26-year-old midfielder ran the show for Newcastle with yet another classy performance which was enough to outshine goal scorers Dwight Gayle and Ayoze Perez – who bagged a brace – and win him a Man of the Match award at full time.
The former Charlton Athletic, Liverpool, Blackpool and Swansea City player was pulling the strings in the centre of the park by making the total of 84 touches and completing 55 of 73 attempted passes. Shelvey also registered an assist – which was his third in the Premier League this season – and had three shots on goal, one of which went on target.
With the 2018 FIFA World Cup around the corner, there is a big question lingering about – Does Jonjo Shelvey deserves to be on the plane for Russia?
Gareth Southgate will name his England squad on Wednesday 16 May, and Jonjo Shelvey will have hoped his strong string of performances from Christmas onwards will be enough to persuade the Three Lions boss to give him a chance in the 23-man squad.
Sunday’s Premier League finale was a last chance for players to impress the England manager and it’s fair to say Jonjo Shelvey has indeed done enough to turn Southgate’s head. It is widely expected that Shelvey will be bidding for a place in the team against Crystal Palace star Ruben Loftus-Cheek who also impressed during his loan spell at Selhurst Park.
A more experienced midfielder such as Jonjo Shelvey with more of an international background at senior level should, however, be given an advantage this time around.
What can Shelvey bring to England?
The Newcastle United midfielder took no part in the qualifying matches but that should not be an argument used against him. The Three Lions will need as much midfield quality as they could bring to Russia and Jonjo Shelvey is exactly the kind of player who can be a breath of fresh air for England.
A physical type with a relentless spirit, Jonjo Shelvey has made a clear improvement in the tactical department under Rafa Benitez and could be trusted to deliver at the highest level. Discipline has perhaps been one of his biggest red flags but the Newcastle midfielder has come a great length since stomping on Dele Alli earlier in the season. Without a yellow card since the start of 2018, Shelvey has been significantly more disciplined.
Additionally, Jonjo Shelvey has been up there with the Premier League’s best when it comes to making a difference for his team with key passes into the final third this season. For a side that’s been struggling with relegation for the good part of the campaign, Shelvey’s 285 passes into the final third and 33 chances he created for Newcastle teammates stand as impressive numbers and proof of his ability.
He could provide more than adequate cover for Jordan Henderson and Eric Dier in Russia. Gareth Southgate would often steer away from choosing a maverick player such as Shelvey in the past but his possible Jonjo Shelvey selection could be interpreted as a clear message of intent by the England boss.
The Newcastle midfielder has been given 2/1 betting odds to make it into the England World Cup squad.
Do you think he will?
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