“Excellent distribution in the first half, really good, bossed it a little bit in the first half,” said Townsend while commentating on Newcastle’s 1-0 win over the Hammers (Sky Sports Premier League, 11:23am, Saturday, July 20th).
This prompted Martin Tyler to point out he thought Shelvey was “different” compared to a lot of other midfielders, and Townsend agreed on this by elaborating further.
“He is, he is, y’know there are managers that trust him but there’s been a few who haven’t,” added Townsend.
“It’ll be interesting to see if Steve Bruce can tap into him, use him on a little bit on a regular basis as there’s no doubt there’s talent in there.”
Townsend clearly isn’t sure on whether Steve Bruce will regularly utilise Shelvey as the midfielder hasn’t always been loved by his managers. In fact, the 27-year-old seemed to be given a bit of the cold shoulder by Rafa Benitez in his latest campaign. After all, Shelvey lost his place as a guaranteed starter in his 2018/19 campaign and only made 18 appearances across all competitions as a result. While the 27-year-old did seem to struggle with injury, as there was a time he wasn’t even making Benitez’s matchday squads, it’s not like when he was definitely fit that the Spanish manager opted to call upon him. The 27-year-old only completed 90 minutes in one of the Magpies’ last league games of the season, and that appearance came on the final day against Fulham when the Magpies didn’t have much to play for. Shelvey averaged 1.4 shots per game in his latest campaign, as per WhoScored, and if Bruce can get the best out him then he’ll be a fantastic attacking presence to have in midfield.