Fitness key for Shelvey - Benitez
Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez says the only way Jonjo Shelvey gets back into the side is by proving his fitness.
England international Shelvey has been hampered by a thigh injury since the start of the year and his last appearance for the Magpies came in the 2-0 home defeat to Manchester United on January 2.
In the 27-year-old's absence, local star Sean Longstaff and Isaac Hayden have formed a successful partnership in the heart of midfield and the duo have been key in Newcastle's upturn in form.
Tuesday's 2-0 win against Burnley at St James' Park was the fourth straight home win for the north-east outfit and Shelvey, who has recovered from injury, was not even named on the bench.
Speaking about the midfielder's situation and lack of opportunities, Benitez said the Englishman is in a tricky position right now because he needs to build up his fitness but chances are few and far between.
He told the Northern Echo: "Jonjo needs to prove his match fitness, but match fitness you can only prove by playing games, so it is not easy at the moment."
James Mason grew up in Northumberland so is entrenched in both the football and golf scenes. A low handicap golfer, he also follows Newcastle United and predicts big things under Rafa Benitez.