Following the last round of internationals, England manager Gareth Southgate has admitted he is still on the lookout for a player in the mould of Paul Gascoigne to complete his side - and Rafa Benitez has claimed that he has the answer in his Newcastle squad in the shape of Jonjo Shelvey.
Benitez has been outspoken in the past about the omission of some of his players from the England squad and Shelvey, in particular, is a name that keeps coming up.
England kicked off their Nations League campaign with a 2-1 home defeat to Spain last weekend, their first competitive loss on home soil since 2007. The Three Lions gave a good account of themselves at Wembley though, and saw a late equaliser controversially disallowed.
They did respond with a friendly win over Switzerland but, between the fixtures, Southgate admitted his team lacks an outright playmaker. Benitez has used the opportunity to suggest Shelvey should be a part of the current England squad, after becoming a crucial player for Newcastle.
He has been a notable absence in the early weeks of the campaign, and Benitez was quoted by the Mirror ahead of his return, saying: “Shelvey has quality, he has the vision, he can make these passes that strikers like behind the defenders. In a team, a squad, I don’t see many of this kind of player.
“Why England? He has the potential to play there. When you have a squad with midfielders, one like Jonjo is a different option.
“I am not saying he should play every game, but he offers something different. I will say again — for me he is a key player because he plays in a different way. Does that mean he is perfect? No, but he is a good player."
He added: “It is Southgate’s decision. I do not need to push anyone. If he was asking me about Shelvey, I would say yes.”
Newcastle have endured a tough start this season suffering narrow defeats to Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester City already. The sit third from bottom and will be hoping for a first three points of the season against the Gunners on Saturday.