Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez has revealed that midfielder Jonjo Shelvey believes he is ready to return from his injury, but the Spaniard is hesitant to bring him back too soon.
Shelvey has been missing for Newcastle in recent weeks as he has been suffering from a thigh problem - similar to the injury which kept him out of action during a large part of Newcastle's pre-season.
Asked about a potential return to the team for Shelvey, Benitez said, via The Newcastle Chronicle: “Jonjo is the kind of player who wants to play in every game and he has been training, but at the same time there is a problem.
“The last time he was pushing and pushing and we could see in training he was not fully fit. He wanted to play, he was telling us he could. I was talking to him today, but we have to see how he is during the week and decide if he is OK or not.
“We don’t talk about his quality, we talk about his fitness. He has the quality to do it, but he has to be fit because we play against another top side who moves the ball very quickly.
“He has been carrying the problem for a while, he wanted to keep playing because he has the quality. But I remember one session where he couldn’t kick the ball as long as he liked so he stopped. I told him to stop. Hopefully this time, with the international break it has given him long enough.
“At least Jonjo was training, if he doesn’t have any problem he could be there. It is too soon to say yes. I am quite optimistic.”
Shelvey is widely believed to be one of Newcastle's key players, which was further evidenced by Newcastle's lacklustre displays against both Chelsea and Manchester City, as Shelvey was forced to watch from the sidelines.
With a tough test against Arsenal coming up, Benitez will certainly be hoping that Shelvey is back to full fitness in time for the match.