The midfielder got the crucial second equaliser as Bruce’s team battled to a 2-2 draw with the champions at St James’ Park, and the head coach feels Shelvey deserves credit for how he bounced back from Monday’s defeat to Aston Villa.
“The whole team didn’t play well against Aston Villa and, of course, Jonjo, it always seems to me, is the one that is the enemy,” he told BBC Newcastle. “I’m delighted for him.
“There’s few people on the pitch [who] can score a goal like he did today. Or few on the pitch who can find a pass like he did today. And physically, his work rate and his attitude to what we need, was good to see.”
There’s no doubt that Shelvey produced a performance to hit back at his haters on Saturday. He came in for a lot of criticism after his sub-standard display in Monday’s defeat at Villa Park, but he came up trumps against Pep Guardiola’s side at St James’. This was a captain’s display from the Jamaal Lascelles’ stand-in, punctuated by a tremendous strike from distance to give Bruce’s team a share of the points. The statistics show that the England international was top drawer against the champions. As per WhoScored.com, the former Swansea City man had three shots and one key pass, while on the defensive end he produced three tackles, four interceptions and three clearances. He also completed six of eight long balls forward on his way to a WhoScored rating of 7.91. This really was a comeback performance from Shelvey, and Bruce is right that he is often criticised most vociferously when Newcastle don’t play well.