Jonjo Shelvey is key man for Newcastle, says Rafa Benitez

Dwight Gayle celebrates scoring with creator Jonjo Shelvey
Dwight Gayle celebrates scoring with creator Jonjo Shelvey

Rafa Benitez says Jonjo Shelvey is the key to Newcastle United’s Championship hopes this season.

Shelvey had a hand in all of the club’s goals in Saturday’s 3-1 win over Brentford.

And Benitez feels Shelvey’s ability to play a telling final ball could make all the difference this season with a goalscorer like Dwight Gayle in the team.

“We analyse the characteristics of our players, and we have a payer who can deliver the final pass in him,” said Shelvey.

“We have others like (Isaac) Hayden who can play in that position, but Jonjo is a player who is technically good and when he plays well the team plays better.”

Benitez is confident that there is no complaceny in the United camp ahead of the game against 11th-placed Barnsley.

“We know that no game is easy, and the season won’t be easy and that’s the message we give to the players to be ready for every game,” said Benitez.

“We saw today that when we went 3-0 up, and the other team scored, they (Brentford) found a new energy. In some international games the opposition teams are easy, but not in this division.

“So you have to be sure that the players are concentrated.

“We didn’t have any over-confidence. We had chances to score a fourth (goal), so it wasn’t like we sat back because we had three or four chances at the end.

“There’s no danger of complacency. We are constantly pushing the players.”