Eddie Howe took to his pre-match press conference on Friday to give an update on Jonjo Shelvey ahead of the clash with Steve Cooper’s Reds.
The Magpies manager told the press (via Shields Gazette): “Jonjo’s in London, I think, tonight for another assessment.
“We don’t have any clear timeframe for you on his injury. He’s probably the big one to come out of pre-season.”
There is no doubt that it’s a big blow for Howe to be deprived of one of his most experienced players in the team for the start of the Premier League season, and he will likely be frustrated with the lack of clarity on the timeframe on how long the 30-year-old will be side-lined.
Shelvey has already been absent from the tail end of pre-season, missing the friendlies against Atalanta and Athletic Bilbao after the former Liverpool ace limped off the pitch against Benfica recently.
Howe has always held high praise for the 30-year-old, claiming that Shelvey is an “incredible technician” and “important” to the way the manager wants to play
The Magpies boss has said (via The Northern Echo): “Jonjo Shelvey – I knew how good Jonjo was on the ball, technically, having played against him and seen him many times. But then when you actually work with him, you realise that he’s an incredible technician. He can play passes all over the pitch – long, short.
“He’s someone that I’ve looked at in terms of our philosophy and how we want to play, he’ll be very important for us.”
The midfielder is one of the longest-serving players in Howe’s squad, tallying 196 Newcastle appearances, scoring 18 goals and delivering 25 assists from the middle of the park during his six-year stint at the club, so the manager will surely miss the ex-Liverpool man’s experience in the team over the first few games of the new season.
Indeed, Shelvey can provide plenty of attacking thrust from midfield, with his 2021/22 match average of 1.3 shots bettered by only three team-mates, so others will need to fill that attack-minded responsibility today against a team playing its first top-flight match since 1999.
Nevertheless, Newcastle should have enough cover to manage without Shelvey over the next few games, with Bruno Guimaraes, Joelinton, Sean Longstaff, Ryan Fraser and Joe Willock all available, and Howe will be hoping that there will be no more midfield issues as the Magpies begin their 2022/23 Premier League campaign.