Rafa Benitez puts Jonjo Shelvey on standby after Newcastle United lose Sean Longstaff to injury

Jonjo Shelvey could be brought back into the Newcastle United fold against Everton – after Sean Longstaff suffered an injury.

Sunday, 3rd March 2019, 9:30 pm
Sean Longstaff.

Rafa Benitez is sweating on the fitness of Longstaff ahead of Saturday’s game at St James’s Park.

The midfielder left the London Stadium on Saturday wearing a knee brace, and with the aid of crutches, after the club’s disappointing 2-0 defeat to West Ham United.

Benitez had withdrawn Longstaff at the break and replaced him with Mohamed Diame.

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“We have to assess him in a couple of days,” said Newcastle’s manager.

“Obviously, when you make a substitution, it’s because he was feeling something.”

Shelvey hasn’t featured since recovering from the thigh injury he suffered in last month’s FA Cup tie against Blackburn Rovers at St James’s Park.

The 27-year-old asked to play for Newcastle’s Under-23s away to Fulham on Friday night after being told he would not make the bench for the third successive game.

Shelvey played just over an hour and scored the only goal of the game.

Asked Shelvey would come into contention for the Everton game, Benitez said: “Yes. We will see how they compete and train, all of them, and so after we will decide.

“Obviously, to play 60 minutes was important for him, and the idea was to improve his match fitness, which hopefully it has done.”

Diame, having made three appearances off the bench since recovering from a fractured metatarsal, could replace Longstaff in Benitez’s starting XI against Everton if the 21-year-old is ruled out.

“At the beginning of the season we were playing with him and Jonjo, so we have different options,” said Benitez.

“Now we have Ki (Sung-yueng), Mo and Jonjo ready with (Isaac) Hayden.

“Hopefully, Longstaff will be fine but, if he’s injured, we have bodies to at least compete between them and see if we can at the very least keep the same level.”

Diame, 31, is close to triggering a one-year contract extension at Newcastle.