Could tactical shift be key to Newcastle getting the best out of Jonjo Shelvey and Mikel Merino?

Rafael Benitez, the Newcastle United manager looks on during the Premier League match between Huddersfield Town and Newcastle United at John Smith's Stadium on August 20, 2017 in...

Rafa Benitez is struggling to fit his three best midfielders into a 4-2-3-1 formation, but a different Newcastle system might well work.

Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez is seen during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Stoke City at St. James Park on September 16, 2017 in Newcastle upon Tyne,...

Throughout his career, Rafa Benitez has determinedly stuck to a 4-2-3-1 formation, demanding that players like Steven Gerrard adapt to it.

And yet, at Newcastle United, he surely must be considering trialling an alternative system as it becomes clear that he has a squad that might make better use of a different formation.

Renato Sanches of Swansea City and Mikel Merino of Newcastle United during the Premier League match between Swansea City and Newcastle United at Liberty Stadium on September 10, 2017 in...

The Magpies' main issue right now is how to fit their talented midfield trio of Mikel Merino, Isaac Hayden and Jonjo Shelvey into the same team.

Both Merino and Shelvey can play in an advanced position, but their best football has undoubtedly been played in a withdrawn role where they can dictate play.

Calls for the pair to be partnered in a midfield two will only go so far as Hayden quietly remains one of Newcastle's most important players, with his energy and drive key all over the pitch.

But there should be room for all three midfielders, particularly given Newcastle's lack of an outstanding number 10.

A switch to a 4-3-3 could see the trio link up and create a devastating midfield that would boast an array of attributes suited to the Premier League.

Should Benitez be tempted to make the switch, here is how a full-strength Newcastle could line up:

Newcastle 433

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