The midfielder missed out on the trip to Wolves on Sunday with Steve Bruce confirming that Shelvey has been playing over the last few weeks with an injury. While the Newcastle manager also suggested that the 28-year-old might have played through the pain longer than he should have done.
Newcastle squad depth set to be tested
The Magpies had been in the market to add to their midfield options before the transfer window closed, with Bruce having been keen to bring in either Ross Barkley or Ruben Loftus-Cheek from Chelsea. However, Newcastle were not able to strengthen in the middle of the park due to not being able to shift other fringe players, per Chronicle Live.
Shelvey had been a key starter for the Magpies so far this campaign, averaging 1.6 tackles per game and a passing accuracy of 72% (Sofascore). In his absence against Wolves, the Magpies struggled to maintain possession in the middle of the park. That saw them average just 37% of possession and come under pressure for large spells, but they eventually earned a battling point.
It had been hoped the midfielder, whose current deal is worth £70,000-a-week (Spotrac), would just be side-lined for a couple of matches. However, it has now emerged that he will require surgery to help him recover from the hernia issue, per Chronicle Live. That will see him miss the next month or so, and having been labelled as ’outstanding’ by Bruce it will certainly be a major loss.
Jeff Hendrick must step up in the absence of Shelvey
Without Shelvey Newcastle’s midfield depth is looking slim, but it should give a chance for Jeff Hendrick, in particular, to show why Bruce signed him this summer. The former Burnley man has been deployed centrally and out wide so far in his fledgling Magpies career. However, he should now be guaranteed a run in the side in his natural position.
The midfielder managed an impressive 90% passing accuracy against Wolves, as well as making three interceptions (Sofascore). That is the sort of performance he will need to build on over the next few weeks.
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