Jonjo Shelvey makes bold Newcastle United claim ahead of visit of boyhood club West Ham United
Jonjo Shelvey has spoken about the underachievement of Newcastle United this season ahead of the visit of his boyhood club to St James’s Park.
The club is 17th in the Premier League ahead of tomorrow’s game, despite having a squad, in Shelvey’s view, at least equal to that of fourth-placed West Ham United
“The squad we have got, on paper ... I don’t think theirs is better than ours, to be honest,” Romford-born Shelvey told talkSPORT.
“I think we’ve got a great squad. We just haven’t performed to the level we can. It’s only recently we’ve picked up a few better results.
"That’s given us the belief to finish this season strong. Then come back next season – and kick on.”
West Ham are overachieving this season, and Shelvey said: “Growing up as a West Ham fan, it’s great to see them where they are and what they are doing. I used to watch them every week, and it’ll be great if they get into the Champions League next season with their fans coming back.”
Shelvey launched an impassioned defence of Steve Bruce in February amid calls for United's head coach to be dismissed.
“Our gaffer obviously gets a lot of stick, but he played over 700 games,” said 29-year-old Shelvey.
"The man knows what he’s doing. He’s been there and done it. He’s the best man manager I’ve worked under. He knows how to speak to certain individuals. For me, as a footballer that’s what I want to work with."