Steve Bruce explains Jonjo Shelvey tactical change at Newcastle United

Steve Bruce has revealed why he moved Jonjo Shelvey into defence against Liverpool.

Sunday, 25th April 2021, 8:21 am

Midfield loanee Willock – who has come off the bench and scored in three of the club’s last four games, and is already a summer target for Newcastle – replaced defender Ciaran Clark in the 64th minute, and this change saw Shelvey move into central defence.

"Well, we just wanted him to stay deep,” said head coach Bruce.

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“We wanted him to find a pass from deep to try and penetrate. We know Liverpool always play a high line, and it was something that we practiced, yes, to get Jonjo in a deep position to find a pass. Thankfully, it’s worked OK.”

Shelvey, one of the first names on Bruce’s teamsheet, had rejected criticism of his workrate ahead of the game in the club’s Zoom Army feature.

“I think I give off this impression with my body language by the way I run, or the way I am,” said the 29-year-old, who had defended Bruce in February amid calls for him to be dismissed.

“I’m quite a laid back character. It might look like that, but the stats say different, and as long as I’m doing it, and it’s being recorded and everything is monitored, you can’t get away with not running.

Jonjo Shelvey lines up a wall at Anfield.
Jonjo Shelvey lines up a wall at Anfield.

"I know it might not seem like I’m not running, or I’m lazy or whatever, but the stats are saying different, so I’m just going to continue to do what I’m doing.

"If I’m going to be honest, I’d take not running at all and win the game comfortably – keep the ball and play position football – but you can’t get away with anything these days.

"You need to rule your sleeves up and run, and I feel like that’s what the stats say I’m doing. As long as the stats say I’m doing it, the proof is there in writing.”

Newcastle are 15th in the Premier League, and nine points above the relegation zone, following the Liverpool game.

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