Rafa Benitez defends Newcastle's Jonjo Shelvey over handshake snub

Rafa Benitez says Jonjo Shelvey's refusal to shake his hand was NOT a show of petulance.

Monday, 15th January 2018, 6:00 am
Shelvey refuses to shake Benitez's hand.

Shelvey was substitute late in Saturday’s 1-1 draw against his former club Swansea City.

Benitez offered his hand, but the midfielder didn’t take it.

Asked if it was a show of petulance, United’s manager said: “No. When players leave the pitch, especially when the team is losing or drawing, they want to stay there and make a contribution or make the difference, so you have to understand that.”

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Shelvey was replaced by Mikel Merino with eight minutes left on the clock.

The England international later apologised to Benitez, who added: “When you’re not winning a game, like this one, so important, any player has to be disappointed if they do not continue playing.

“But we have to make the substitutions, and that’s it. I didn’t have any problems with what he did.”

Shelvey, signed from Swansea two years ago for £12million, has been linked with a move to West Ham United in this month’s transfer window.

Benitez, however, is adamant that the 25-year-old will not be allowed to leave St James’s Park.

West Ham have also been credited with an interested in defender Chancel Mbmeba.

Benitez said: “At the moment, apart from (Jamie) Sterry and (Jack) Colback, the others are players that maybe we will need.”