Bruce looks keen to take advantage of Shelvey’s passing skills in the middle of the park and give him protection with defensive options such as Isaac Hayden and Sean Longstaff either side of him.
The 27-year-old was one of the few positives to take from the defeat against Arsenal, as his tenacity on and off the ball made him a real threat to the Gunners, as he managed to strike the post from distance.
Danny Mills has pinpointed Shelvey as a player who could make a real difference in an interview with Football Insider, claiming the midfielder could become a ‘superstar’ this season.
“Don’t try and show that you’re the superstar, just be a superstar by just being good. That’s all he needs to do. He has a great range of passing but at times he can be a little bit disruptive, a little bit ill-disciplined,” he said.
“I know that has changed over the past season, if he focuses on just being a good footballer, doing the simple things, keeping his head, then he’ll be a massive asset for Newcastle.”
The Sky Sports pundit is spot on with his verdict on Shelvey, who could act as a new signing if he is to stay fit all season under Bruce.
Shelvey was given the captain’s armband at times by Benitez last season but would have been unhappy with his lack of consistent minutes for the Magpies.
There is no doubting the fact that Shelvey’s main attribute is his passing ability from the middle of the park – with his experience combined into that – he must control games for Newcastle this season, especially when they are leading by the slightest of margins.
Shelvey averaged almost 40 passes per game last season (39.3) and only completed them at a success rate of 71% according to WhoScored – he must improve that drastically if he is to become this so-called superstar, as his side will be counting on him to help them control games this campaign.
Bruce cannot afford to count on a player who could end up losing possession needlessly after all.
The 27-year-old has to improve his passing to help control games if he is to live up to Mills’ claims that he can be a superstar this season.