Former striker Darren Bent has been making a lot of media appearances lately, with his latest verdict showing a mix of criticism and praise for Newcastle midfielder Jonjo Shelvey.
Speaking to Football Insider, Darren Bent claimed it was ‘harsh’ for Steve Bruce to drop the in form Matty Longstaff for Shelvey over these last two wins, with the ex-Liverpool man needing to ‘give more to the cause’.
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Despite scoring the winning goal in an epic 1-0 home win over Manchester United back in October, a match where Matty and brother Sean commanded Newcastle’s midfield, Bruce dropped the youngster for Shelvey during the Magpies’ last two victories against West Ham and Bournemouth.
Of course, judging by the Englishman’s performances in both those encounters, scoring a stunning free-kick at the London Stadium, you could argue the decision was justified, and so does Bent.
“It was harsh but it showed it was the right decision. He scored a great free-kick (v West Ham),” explained the pundit.
“I do like Shelvey, I think he’s a good player. I do think he needs to be giving more to the cause and maybe realise he’s not at Liverpool any more, he’s not playing with these so-called better players any more so he does need to put a shift in.
“It’s going to be tough at times but at the same time he needs to show them he’s willing to fight for the cause. It’s not always as simple as playing with good players, but he showed his quality and he has got a lot of quality.
“It was harsh on Matty Longstaff but I think he’ll understand and appreciate why.”
Indeed, as a manager, sometimes these are the decisions that you need to make – but Bruce will be happy with both the outcome and steady progress Longstaff is making after breaking through into the first team.
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