Newcastle United head coach Steve Bruce has revealed that he selected midfielder Jonjo Shelvey on Saturday because ‘he’s a West Ham fan’.
The England international was surprisingly brought back into the starting line up against West Ham United and delivered big time, scoring a stunning free kick to help the Magpies to a fantastic 3-2 win.
Now, Bruce has lifted the lid on his thinking going into the London Stadium clash: “I just thought Jonjo, if we needed a pass, could give a pass,” he said, as per the Sunderland Echo.
“With set-pieces, he’s made one and scored one. Always, in the back of my mind, I knew he was a West Ham fan, so this is a stage he wants to play on. He was very good. He’s got to maintain it. I got the decision right.”
There’s no doubt that, as he gloatingly says, Bruce got the decision select Shelvey correct on Saturday. Many Newcastle fans were shocked to see teenager Matty Longstaff dropped for the West Ham clash, but Shelvey was given an opportunity and he took it in tremendous fashion. The statistics show that the former Swansea City man was superb on Saturday. As per WhoScored.com, he had two shots – one on target – and one successful dribble. Furthermore, he made two tackles, two interceptions and two clearances, while he made four crosses and 12 long balls forward. The pressure was on the 27-year-old to deliver and repay his head coach’s faith, and he very much did that. Going up against the club he supported as a boy, as Bruce says, will have been a big motivator for the Englishman. It was massive for Newcastle to have Shelvey at his best, there’s no doubt about that.