By 90Min
September 24, 2017

Newcastle's central midfielder Jonjo Shelvey has been missing from the starting line-up since his opening day expulsion for stamping on Tottenham's Dele Alli.

With Borussia Dortmund loanee Mikel Merino firmly holding down a place as the starting central midfielder, Benitez has suggested that it may be a while before Shelvey is re-established as a starting player for Newcastle.

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They young spaniard Merino has shown his capability in recent weeks, impressing with his composure on the ball as well as his range of passing. This, accompanied by Isaac Hayden's energy and work rate in the centre of the park, means Shelvey may face a lengthy spell on the Newcastle bench.

Speaking to the Shields Gazette, Benitez said, “I’ve had another word with Jonjo, and he knows my idea.

“He knows the way to change things is every training session to show the quality that he has and what we are expecting from him.

“It’s quite difficult because they are doing well, all of them.

“You have to analyse your team, how we are doing and the other team and say: ‘OK, I will pick these two.’”

Nonetheless, when questioned about the possibility of Merino and Shelvey playing alongside each other, he failed to rule it out.

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“I think they have quality, and, if tactically they understand the role of each other, then I can see it, yes.”

With Newcastle enjoying a successful return to the Premier League, it is unlikely that the Toon Army boss will be looking to change his winning formula. 

His side currently sit in fourth place, and will be looking to continue their three game winning streak when they travel down to the South Coast to face Brighton later on Sunday.

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