Eddie Howe says Jonjo Shelvey has a “huge role” to play for Newcastle United between now and the World Cup break. The midfielder underwent hamstring surgery in August and has returned ahead of schedule.
Shelvey returned to the matchday squad last week for the Magpies’ three games in seven games against Manchester United, Everton and Tottenham Hotspur. The 30-year-old was an unused substitute before playing the remaining one minute plus stoppage time in the 2-1 win at Spurs on Sunday.
United face Aston Villa, Southampton and Chelsea in the Premier League, plus Crystal Palace in the Carabao Cup, before the campaign pauses until late-December, and Shelvey has been tipped to play a big part.
“He’s got real qualities that we need,” Howe said. “He’s got experience, understands his position and he’s got that range of passing that the team clearly needs. He’s going to have a huge role to play.”
Even during his rehabilitation, Shelvey remained a big presence around the dressing room. That was on show last Sunday when the former Liverpool man, despite being named on the bench, warmed up with the starting XI and noticeably offered plenty of encouragement.
Shelvey’s commitment can’t be questioned either. During the off-season, the former England international worked with a personal trainer and returned to pre-season in top condition before picking up a hamstring injury in a friendly against Benfica.