Rafael Benitez has revealed that Jonjo Shelvey will have to wait for the opportunity to reclaim his place in Newcastle United's starting eleven due to the form demonstrated by both Isaac Hayden and Sean Longstaff in recent weeks.
The 27-year-old central midfielder has made just two appearances for the club in 2019 and has been suffering from a recurring thigh injury that he first picked up in November, which led him to seek specialist treatment in Barcelona.
Despite returning to full training earlier this month, Shelvey has not been selected for Newcastle's last two fixtures against Huddersfield Town and Burnley with manager Rafael Benitez opting to leave the former Liverpool star out of the matchday squad.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, the Spanish boss gave an update on the midfielder, admitting: "Obviously Jonjo [Shelvey] will need to improve his match fitness, but the only way he can improve it is by playing.
"It's not easy at the minute. We have 24 players available. What does that mean? It means the 11 starters are doing well."
"There are seven players on the bench and you still leave six players outside the squad. If we have a chance, I will give an opportunity to people to be sure that everybody can be involved.
"But it's quite difficult. Hopefully, we can carry on doing the same.
"The behaviour of the other players, the way they are training, is very good."
Picking up an impressive 13 points from their last six Premier League games, the Magpies have moved six points clear of the relegation zone with the likes of Salomon Rondon, Fabian Schar and academy graduate Longstaff all producing stand-out performances over the past few weeks.
Benitez's side will be aiming to continue their resurgence when they head to the London Stadium on Saturday to face West Ham United in the Premier League. Currently 13th in the league standings, Newcastle could move within two points of the Hammers with a victory, a result which would also see them edge even closer to survival in the Premier League.