Jermaine Jenas Urges Rafa Benitez to Restore Controversial Midfielder to Newcastle's Starting Lineup

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Former Spurs and Newcastle midfielder and current BBC pundit Jermaine Jenas has called on Rafa Benitez to restore controversial star Jonjo Shelvey to the starting lineup in the Magpies upcoming fixtures.

The manager has seen his attacking players struggle to find the back of the net recently, with defender Jamaal Lascelles scoring two of the Magpies' last three goals.

Benitez will be playing host to former club Liverpool in what should be a very tough fixture, having lost to 1-0 Brighton last week.

Speaking on BBC, Jenas explained that Shelvey, who served a three-match ban after getting sent off during Newcastle's first match of the season, would be a huge help to his manager in terms of creativity.

Despite being back from suspension for two games now, the midfielder hasn't been allowed to start - and Jenas reckons it could be costing Newcastle.

“One way Benitez could address his problems in attack is by getting midfielder Shelvey in the right frame of mind and back into his starting line-up,” he said. “It is clear to me that Newcastle are a better and more creative side with Shelvey than they are without him.

"The level of threat carried by the Magpies went through the roof the moment he came on as a 68th-minute substitute against Brighton.”

“Isaac Hayden is a decent footballer and very combative, and you can tell Mikel Merino likes getting on the ball and popping it around - but they are both a little bit safe in midfield. Shelvey tries things. He is a threat from distance and a good crosser of the ball, the type of player that attackers will love to play with.”

“Shelvey has not started since he let his team down with that red card against Spurs, and it has probably done him some good that they have gone on and won some games without him. 

"It might have made him realise he has to take a good look at himself, and have the correct attitude when he plays, because otherwise he is going to stay on the bench."