This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…
Darren Bent has praised Jonjo Shelvey but stated that he needs to be giving more to the team if Newcastle are to progress.
Steve Bruce has had tricky decisions to make in relation to his midfield in recent weeks, with the Longstaff brothers both playing well in the absence of more senior players such as Isaac Hayden and Jonjo Shelvey.
However, with those two becoming available at the time Sean Longstaff got suspended, Bruce decided to recall Shelvey to the side, and the former Swansea man has already repaid that decision.
His inclusion in the previous two matches means Matty Longstaff has had to settle for a place on the bench after an impressive start to his Premier League career, a topic Bent also touched on.
Speaking to Football Insider, he said: “It was harsh but it showed it was the right decision. He [Shelvey] scored a great free-kick [against West Ham].
“I do like Shelvey, I think he’s a good player. I do think he needs to be giving more to the cause and maybe realise he’s not at Liverpool any more, he’s not playing with these so-called better players any more so he does need to put a shift in.
“It’s going to be tough at times but at the same time he needs to show them he’s willing to fight for the cause. It’s not always as simple as playing with good players, but he showed his quality and he has got a lot of quality.”
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With each of his central midfielders seemingly in good form it may be difficult for the Longstaff brothers to get a look-in.
Shelvey has proved that he is the better option than Sean Longstaff to play the passing role next to Hayden, and if he takes on board Bent’s advice then he will only increase his value to Bruce.
Despite the claims of the former England international, the Magpies seem to be doing well with the 27-year-old in the side, having won two from two since his return.
Bruce’s organisation of his team makes up for a lack of quality or a lack of effort at times, and with Hayden conducting the dirty work it frees up Shelvey to do what he’s best at.
It seems to be a winning formula currently and with the Longstaff brothers knocking on the door, the senior players will be well aware of the fact that they need to meet their manager’s standards, or they risk being dropped.