Newcastle’s Jonjo Shelvey reflects on his missed opportunity with Rafa Benitez at Liverpool

Jonjo Shelvey, right
Jonjo Shelvey, right

Jonjo Shelvey’s relishing playing for Rafa Benitez at Newcastle United – six years after missing out on the chance at Liverpool.

Shelvey has been an influential figure under Benitez so far this season.

He’s a very good man-manager. He gets his points across well. If you’re not playing, he’s a manager who’s very approachable. You can always knock on his door. He’ll give you the explanation.

Jonjo Shelvey

The 24-year-old was signed from Charlton Athletic by Benitez in 2010 when he was manager of Liverpool, but Benitez left Anfield before he formally joined the club.

Shelvey, signed from Swansea City in January for £12million, finally got his chance to play for Benitez late last season when the hugely-experienced manager was tasked with keeping United in the Premier League.

READ MORE: Jonjo Shelvey: Why I NEVER thought about quitting relegated Newcastle

“He signed me at Liverpool,” said Shelvey. “I went up there in May and met him, and then I went back to Charlton for the last month of the season. Then in the summer he left and Roy Hodgson took over.

“It’s weird how football works out. When I was at Swansea we played Napoli in the Europa League. I spoke to him there and he was always spot on.”

Shelvey feels one of Benitez’s strengths is his man-management.

And Benitez’s ability to keep his players happy is already being tested this season given that he only has two long-term injuries and a working squad of around 25 players.

“He’s a very good man-manager,” said Shelvey. “He gets his points across well.

“If you’re not playing, he’s a manager who’s very approachable. You can always knock on his door. He’ll give you the explanation.

“But there’s 25 players. Imagine if everyone was knocking on his door? He wouldn’t get out until the evening!

“It’s football. It’s a results business. It doesn’t matter who plays or who scores as long as we win the games and get the club back up to the Premier League.”

Meanwhile, Benitez has revealed why he resisted the temptation to play DeAndre Yedlin in Saturday’s game against Rotherham United, which Newcastle won 1-0.

“I think it was important to give Yedlin the chance to rest a little bit, because he had two problems with his ankle,” said Benitez.

“I didn’t want to take the risk. When you have a player like (Vurnon) Anita, it’s someone you can trust 100%.”