Rafa Benitez reacts to Gareth Southgate’s visit to Newcastle and reveals the player who has international ability

England manager Gareth Southgate, Sting and Jimmy Nail in the stands at Newcastle on Saturday.
England manager Gareth Southgate, Sting and Jimmy Nail in the stands at Newcastle on Saturday.

Rafa Benitez welcomed Gareth Southgate’s appearance at St James’s Park.

The England manager watched Newcastle United’s 1-0 Premier League win over Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Jonjo Shelvey hasn’t played for his country since joining Newcastle in January last year, while Jamaal Lascelles and Isaac Hayden have never played for England at senior level.

United manager Benitez said: “I think it’s important for them the manager is here – he can see something.

“Sometimes, when the team isn’t playing well, it’s hard to show what you can do.

“Jonjo has the ability and the quality to see the pass and the runners.

“And if you put him with better players, he’ll be even better, because he has the quality.”

Shelvey spoke about his England career in the summer.

The midfielder said: “I had England in my thoughts last year, but they’re not going to pick a player in the Championship, are they?

“That’s down to them, and all I can do is just show in my performances that I warrant a place in the England team.”

Shelvey added: “If you look at the competition, we’re crying out for a central midfielder for our country in my opinion, but it’s just a matter of saying the right things in the press and things like that, to be honest with you.

“That’s just the way football is nowadays, I think.”