Newcastle's Jonjo Shelvey insists he must score more goals to live up to Ian Holloway's 'best ever player' comments

Jonjo Shelvey celebrates with Matt Ritchie.
Jonjo Shelvey celebrates with Matt Ritchie.

Newcastle United's Jonjo Shelvey admits he's got to add goals to his game to live up to Ian Holloway's 'best ever Championship player' tag.

Earlier this season former boss Holloway claimed that Shelvey was the best player he had ever seen in the second tier.

But as the pair look set to lock horns at St James' Park on Wednesday, when Holloway's QPR are the visitors, the England international, although flattered, has played down those comments.

Instead, Shelvey insists while he's confident in his ability, he is not scoring enough goals to be considered the best at this level.

"It's nice to have them sentences spoken about you," he said to NUFC TV.

"I feel like I am up there with the best of them at this level.

"And if I can keep myself fit and mentally right, and keep help this club to win games then we can get this club up.

"I do need to score more goals to be honest with you.

"I just seem to be assisting Dwighty (Gayle) and Matty (Ritchie) at the minute.

"At the end of the day it doesn't matter who scores the goals, it is just a case of getting this club back into the Premier League, where it belongs."

Holloway's comments, back when he was a Sky Sports pundit, should come as no surprise given that the gaffer is a long-term admirer of the midfielder.

"Obviously, I worked with Ian when I was on loan at Blackpool from Liverpool," explained Shelvey.

"He was a great gaffer, he gave me a lot of belief and confidence."

And because of Holloway's arrival in the Loftus Road dugout, Shelvey expects this meeting between the pair to be very different to the last time, when United ran out 6-0 winners in West London.

"A repeat would be nice. But it will be a very different game. They have got a new manager," said Shelvey, who scored twice that night back in September.

"Every time I seem to have played in London I seem to have done well. That night down there was very special.

"We scored six very good goals. The first was a bit lucky, then after that we thoroughly deserved to win the game in the manner we did.

"I am sure they will come up here to sit back, like most teams do.

"It is just going to be a case of trying to break them down and if we do that I am sure we will get back to winning ways."

Three of United's last five games have been in the FA Cup, but the Magpies find themselves out of the competition, having lost in embarrassing fashion to Oxford at the weekend.

Shelvey, who made his return from a five-game ban in the third round replay against Birmingham, admits he is deeply disappointed that the club have dropped out of the cup.

But he says the players, club and fans must not lose sight of what the club's number one ambition is.

He said: "Being out the FA Cup - I wanted to stay in.

"It was a chance to play at Wembley. It would have been good for the club to get there. But we have the league.

"We need to get promoted. It would be seen as a big failure if we didn't - that's the priority.

"It's very important we get back to winning ways.

"It was a very bad result for us. We have just got to draw a line under and move on.

"So, we need to go out an put on a show on Wednesday night."