Shelvey was brought to Newcastle from Swansea City last week, and the central midfielder made his debut against West Ham United on Saturday.
The England international dictated the pace of the game and put in a highly impressive performance on his debut, as he helped Newcastle pick up a vital 2-1 victory. And McClaren believes that Shelvey can thrive with players like Wijnaldum around him.
"We said to Jonjo [Shelvey], you'll enjoy playing in this team because we've got footballers and Gini is one of those," McClaren revealed.
"He's our link. It's important to get the balance right in the team and we allow him to make runs forward.
"He's very effective, strong, he's getting better and better. He's got used to the tempo and he can score goals. He can work, he can play, he's an intelligent footballer, he can play any position."
Wijnaldum scored Newcastle’s second goal against West Ham, after finishing off a move that Shelvey started.
The former Swansea man hit a wonderful cross-field pass to right-back Daryl Janmaat, who then played in Wijnaldum to score from close range.
Newcastle’s win over West Ham has lifted them out of the bottom three, with the North East side taking a big step towards safety.