Silent Jonjo Shelvey’s captaincy under scrutiny at Newcastle

Newcastle United's Jonjo Shelvey.
Newcastle United's Jonjo Shelvey.

Jonjo Shelvey’s captaincy at Newcastle United has come under scrutiny in the wake of the club’s abject defeat at Southampton.

Rafa Benitez’s relegation-threatened side were beaten 3-1 at the St Mary’s Stadium.

Shelvey – who has struggled for form away from home – failed to inspire his team.

And the £12million January signing, handed the captain’s armband in the absence through injury of club skipper Fabricio Coloccini, refused to speak after the game.

Instead, it was left to 22-year-old substitute Jamaal Lascelles to speak to the BBC after the defeat, which left relegation-threatened United even deeper in trouble.

Lascelles won praise from fans for a blunt interview in which he claimed the team needed to show “fight, hunger and despire” on the pitch.

Shelvey – who has repeatedly blanked requests for interviews in the mixed zone after games – spoke about the captaincy early last month after Coloccini suffered a calf injury.

“It’s something I want to do – I’m up for the fight,” the 24-year-old told BBC Newcastle. “I want to lead this team to safety.

“The more times I’m captain it gives me that belief, the fact the club has faith in me,” he added.

“I’m vocal on and off the pitch. I can lead the team, and it’s something I want to take in my stride. I’ve always been instilled by my dad to be a leader. I welcome it with open arms.”

Swansea City, Shelvey’s former club, reached the 40-point milestone at the weekend thanks to a 1-0 win over Chelsea.

Meanwhile, Benitez and his staff will today assess the injuries suffered by defenders Daryl Janmaat and Steven Taylor at Southampton.

Asked about their injuries, Benitez said: “I don’t know. We will see.

“We have to see how they are, and after start counting players for the next one.”

Taylor and Janmaat each made mistakes for Southampton’s first two goals.

Janmaat limped off the pitch after slipping in the build-up to the home side’s second goal.

Benitez added: “He said that he had a problem with his groin, so we have to wait and see.”