Jonjo Shelvey has revealed he hired a personal trainer in the summer in a bid to shed weight – after being ‘hurt’ about being axed by Rafa Benitez.
The Newcastle United midfielder was dropped by the Toon manager for the ill-fated run-in to the Premier League season.
Shelvey had made an instant impact after his £12million January move from Swansea City, but was consigned to the bench by Benitez in the last few games of the campaign.
It has prompted speculation over his future, but the England international says he is committed to helping the club get back into the Premier League.
And he says he cut short his summer holidays to work on improving his fitness in a bid to impress Benitez.
The former Liverpool midfielder said: “I want to play as much as possible, I want to be a regular starter.
“It hurt me last year. I didn’t show it, I was very professional and took it on the chin.
“There will be times when you aren’t playing.
“Hopefully I can start this season and we can get back up to the Premier League.”
Shelvey has been working hard with the rest of the United squad in their Dublin training camp this week.
And he revealed it’s not the first lot of fitness work he’s done already this summer.
He added: “I have lost six or seven kilos since last season.
“I didn’t really have a summer holiday, I went away for a week, and come back and five weeks with a personal trainer trying to get myself in decent nick for the season to give myself the best chance to come and play.
“It was just what I needed to do.”
Shelvey has been impressed with the pre-season training programme under Benitez, and says the Ireland trip has helped provide some much-needed bonding among the players that was missing last season.
He told NUFC TV: “It has been about getting team bonding and team spirit together.
“We needed to do that. There wasn’t enough of that last year so fingers crossed we can get more stuff done like that.
“It has benefited us and you can see it on the training pitch.”