Rafa Benitez outlines Jonjo Shelvey’s ‘importance’ to Newcastle in the Championship

Jonjo Shelvey

Jonjo Shelvey

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Jonjo Shelvey will be an “important” player for Newcastle United in the Championship – but he’s NOT guaranteed a start.

That’s the view of manager Rafa Benitez, whose side take on Bristol City at Ashton Gate tomorrow.

They have to realise that the only way to be strong as a team is to have a strong squad and every player must compete for a position in a positive way.

Rafa Benitez

Shelvey – who started Wednesday night’s 4-1 home win over Reading – joined Newcastle in a £12million deal from Swansea City in January.

But he found himself on the bench late last season,

And Benitez won’t be afraid to leave big names out of his starting XI in the Championship.

“No matter what level of team you manage, you have around 25 players,” said Benitez. “You have to pick 11 and they have to realise that every must work hard to compete to be in that team.

“The main thing is the team, to win. All of the players important for me.

“Jonjo is a very important player for us. He was not playing versus Fulham, but played the second (game).

“They have to realise that the only way to be strong as a team is to have a strong squad and every player must compete for a position in a positive way.”

Shelvey – who was handed the captain’s armband by Steve McClaren last season in the absence through injury of Fabricio Coloccini – insisted that he would “never hide” in the programme for the Reading game.

The 24-year-old said: “I’m someone who will always take the ball and try to makes things happen. I’ll never hide.

“We need players who are fearless, who will want the ball whether things are going well or badly.

“We need to be brave and stand up and be counted.”