Speaking on Sky Sports News’ Premier League Daily, former Newcastle United manager Steve McClaren has praised Jonjo Shelvey as the Magpies’ “main player” and confirmed he expects them to secure promotion.
McClaren left St James’ Park 12 months ago, and was replaced by current manager Rafa Benitez, who couldn’t stop Newcastle suffering relegation to the Sky Bet Championship.
Benitez’s side are currently top of the Championship table, looking likely to return to the Premier League in May, as they hold a seven-point advantage over third-placed Huddersfield Town.
Asked if he thought Newcastle would achieve promotion this season, McClaren replied: “Absolutely, no problem. They score goals and win matches.”
The former Derby manager went on to praise Shelvey, who joined Newcastle whilst McClaren was manager, he continued: “I think Jonjo Shelvey has been the revelation for them, he has been the main player, he is a leader and as long as he can curb his temper, he is the big man for them.”
The Magpies picked up a valuable point on Saturday, when they recorded a goalless draw with Birmingham City, which combined with Huddersfield and Brighton and Hove Albion’s defeats, saw Benitez’s side extend their lead.
Following this week’s international break, Newcastle face struggling Wigan Athletic and Burton Albion, where they will be hopeful of maintaining their promotion push.
Newcastle fans… Do you agree with McClaren that Shelvey is your club’s main player? Let us know in the comments!