Newcastle are going through a very rough patch of recent, picking up just a point from their last 6 Premier League games.
The Toons are now just 5 points off the relegation places ahead of a busy end-of-the-year run of games, and manager Rafa Benitez will have to get things right with his selections in order to enter the New Year in fine form.
Former Liverpool midfielder Danny Murphy believes that hasn’t been the case in Newcastle’s last 2 games, though, questioning the Spaniard’s decision to omit Jonjo Shelvey from his starting lineup.
The English midfielder came off the bench during weekend’s loss to Chelsea and midweek’s draw against West Brom.
Isaac Hayden started alongside Mikel Merino against the Baggies, while Mohamed Diamé was preferred with the Spain youth international in midfield against the Blues.
The Senegalese clearly struggled before being hauled off with 15 minutes to play, and Murphy couldn’t but marvel at the decision while commentating on the game for BBC Radio 5 Live.
In his words: “It won’t be long before Jonjo Shelvey gets the hump.
“If he can’t get in this Newcastle team, I’m watching different football. I really am.
“Have you got enough match winners in the side for Newcastle?
“You’ve got one on the bench.”
Newcastle host Leicester City by weekend and will try to arrest their poor run of results against the former champions.
Considering how the influence and creativity of Shelvey have been missed in the last 2 games, it remains to be seen if he won’t be getting back to the starting XI.