It’s been a rollercoaster ride for Jonjo Shelvey these past 18 months.
It wasn’t too long ago that he was being touted as an outside shout for Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the World Cup in Russia, with his form leading into that tournament raising more than a few eyebrows.
In 2017/18, the midfielder averaged 1.4 key passes per match, as well as a massive 5.2 successful long balls, as per Whoscored.
Last year, however, held back by injury, the 27-year-old struggled to stamp his authority on Rafa Benitez’s plans.
Sean Longstaff and Isaac Hayden both had fantastic seasons, and even though Shelvey kept performing at around the same level that he had the previous year, averaging 1.6 key passes and 5.4 long balls, it always felt like he was facing an uphill battle to regain his manager’s trust.
And so, while many people maligned Benitez’s exit at the end of June, there must have been a tiny part of the England international that was secretly delighted.
Since then, Steve Bruce has come in, and Shelvey looks as if he is in line for his second chance on Tyneside.
He started against Arsenal on Sunday, and impressed alongside Longstaff and Hayden in the middle of the park.
In his 54 minutes on the field he managed two tackles, two shots on goal, and was only dispossessed once, as per Whoscored.
But his game was cut short by injury, and it has been touch and go since as to whether he would be available to face Norwich City this weekend.
All the signs are that Shelvey should be able to feature against the Canaries, and given his talent, that will be just as much a boost for his team as it will for him personally.