Rafa Benitez reacts to Jonjo Shelvey's match-winning comeback for Newcastle

Yoan Gouffran and Jonjo Shelvey
Yoan Gouffran and Jonjo Shelvey

Rafa Benitez hailed Jonjo Shelvey after the midfielder made a match-winning return for Newcastle United in the FA Cup.

Shelvey, handed the captain's armband by Benitez on his return from a five-match ban, had a hand in all three goals in last night's 3-1 win over Birmingham City.

Matt Ritchie netted twice, and Yoan Gouffran also scored to book the club a fourth-round tie away to Oxford United.

Asked about Shelvey's return, United manager Benitez said: "It's always important to have numbers in terms of players around but especially someone like him that has quality and can pass the ball.

"He can make the others play. It's another big boost for us as a team.

"You saw Jonjo controlling and dictating the tempo of the game."

Asked about Shelvey's fitness ahead of Saturday's Championship home game against Rotherham United, Benitez added: "He was training really well. It's not the same match fitness, but it was not too long. He was training really well. He's fine. He needed to play. I think it's positive for him."