Steve Bruce dismisses 'lazy' tag for Newcastle United player

Steve Bruce says Jonjo Shelvey’s anything but “lazy” as he considers a recall for the midfielder.

Saturday, 14th September 2019, 7:00 am
Updated Saturday, 14th September 2019, 7:00 am
Jonjo Shelvey.

Bruce lost Sean Longstaff to an ankle injury ahead of this afternoon’s game against Liverpool.

And Shelvey, dropped in favour of Longstaff against Tottenham Hotspur last month, is on standby to replace Longstaff in midfield at Anfield.

Shelvey’s workrate has been criticised, but Bruce, United’s head coach, says Shelvey does as much work as anyone when Newcastle don’t have the ball.

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“The one thing we've got now is sports science, and you can see every player, whether they do enough or not, and Jonjo against Leicester (in the Carabao Cup) was up there in the top half of dozen of both teams for distance covered,” said Bruce.

“He's got this languid style, which makes him that way. He always as if he's a touch on the lazy side if that's the way you're putting it, but I think it's just the way he is. Make no mistake, he's a very good player. A good footballer.”

Shelvey was dropped after the club’s 3-1 defeat to Norwich City despite scoring at Carrow Road. Bruce paired Longstaff with Isaac Hayden for the 1-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur.

“You have to make a call, and I went that way,” said Bruce. “It could've easily gone the other way – he was unfortunate to be left out. I just thought I had to put that pair in.”

Meanwhile, Longstaff went over on his ankle in training. Bruce said: “We won’t quite know how serious it is for another couple of days.”