Shelvey’s attitude should be praised – Benitez

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Newcastle United boss Rafa Benitez has praised Jonjo Shelvey's attitude in recent weeks despite being out of the first team.

Newcastle United boss Rafa Benitez has praised Jonjo Shelvey’s attitude in recent weeks despite being out of the first team.

The former Liverpool man will miss Saturday’s game against West Ham United with Benitez unwilling to change his squad at present.

Shelvey is currently on his way back from a long-term thigh issue and is now behind Sean Longstaff, Isaac Hayden, Mohamed Diame and Ki Sung-yueng in the pecking order.

The 26-year-old has only made eight Premier League starts this season but Benitez insists he asked to play for the club’s U23 side once he found out he was not going to be picked.

He told reporters: ‘You have Sean and Hayden doing well, still you have Ki, still you have Diame – they were ahead of him and they are not in the team, so you have five midfielders now for two positions.

‘We don’t have the space – physically, you cannot pick more than 18 players – then someone has to stay out, and that is my problem.

‘Many people say, ‘Yeah but Jonjo could be [in the team]’ – yes, he could be, but we are doing well.

‘He loves to play.

In training when you see him, he has a style of football that he loves to play, so he loves football and is keen to be there, and that is why I said it was very positive that he wanted to play with the U23s, because he wants to play.’

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