Rafa Benitez explains why he left Jonjo Shelvey out of his Newcastle starting XI

Jonjo Shelvey
Jonjo Shelvey
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Rafa Benitez says Jonjo Shelvey’s as droppable as ANY player in his Newcastle United squad.

Shelvey has been named on the bench for the club’s last two Premier League games.

But he has to compete just like everybody’s competing now, and it is the only way for us to succeed.

Rafa Benitez

And the midfielder could again be a substitute for this afternoon’s home game against Leicester City.

Asked why he dropped Shelvey, United manager Benitez said: “The same reason why, when I pick him, he makes the team.

“He’s a good player. Sometimes he can be there, sometimes he cannot be there.

“But it is exactly the same with (Isaac) Hayden or with (Mikel) Merino or with (Jamaal) Lascelles, or with anyone.

“For me, some players could be different in terms of the quality that they have, but still all of them they will be important at different parts of the season.

“Maybe some of them will be more important during the whole season, maybe some of them just part of the season.”

Some fans have questioned Benitez’s decision to leave Shelvey out of his starting XI, given his talent.

Benitez said: “Is he an important player for us? Yes.

“But he has to compete just like everybody’s competing now, and it is the only way for us to succeed.”

Meanwhile, Newcastle’s Under-18s have been drawn against Crystal Palace in the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup. United beat Brighton 5-0 in the last round.