Jonjo Shelvey: I've ALWAYS had the technical ability – but my fitness held me back

Jonjo Shelvey
Jonjo Shelvey

Jonjo Shelvey says his fitness has always held him back in his football career.

But there's been no stopping him the Newcastle United midfielder this season.

Shelvey puts that down to the work he did last summer on his conditioning ahead of the club's Championship campaign.

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The England international – who turned 25 yesterday ahead of tonight's top-of-the-table clash against Brighton and Hove Albion – worked on his fitness in the wake of United's relegation.

Shelvey has been an influential figure on the pitch this season, having scored four times, directly set up seven goals and had a hand in many more strikes.

"I'm playing well," Shelvey told BBC Radio Newcastle. "I'm the fittest I've been. It's standing me in good stead. I've always had the technical ability, but it's always been my fitness. Now I feel I'm benefitting from the way my body is."

Newcastle, held to a 2-2 draw by Bristol City at the weekend, are a point behind league leaders Brighton.

And Shelvey has challenged his team-mates to go on and prove they are the "best team" in the division.

"If you look around in our dressing room, we've got the best team in this division," said Shelvey, signed from Swansea City in January last year.

"We're the team that should go up. If teams are going to fear you, they might not act like it, but I'm sure they do.

"When Newcastle come to other places, the clubs you're playing against get their biggest capacities. That speaks highly of this great football club."