Micky Gray has named Jonjo Shelvey in his Team of the Season so far, as he stated that the once 'criticised' star has taken his game to the 'next level' this season.
The TalkSport pundit claimed that he has watched Newcastle play a dozen times at St James' Park this season, and everytime he watches him play, he leaves 'impressed'.
Whilst Newcastle have suffered a number of poor results in recent weeks, for large parts of the season, they have done better than many imagined, with Shelvey at the heart of a lot of things they have done well.
Speaking to Drive on TalkSport (31/12/19 4:15 pm), former Sunderland man, Gray, explained why Shelvey makes his Team of the Season at the halfway stages of the Premier League campaign.
"I am going to start with Jonjo Shelvey," Gray told TalkSport. "I think under Steve Bruce, he was in and out with Rafa Benitez, he used to Ki in front of him in certain games. I know they have a few young players coming through the ranks, at the moment.
"But I look at Jonjo Shelvey, and Newcastle aren't the same without him. And everybody criticised, you can go through the whole package if you want, the manager has gone, Steve Bruce coming in etc... But Jonjo Shelvey, they have given him the captains armband and he's the mainstay. He's the one who makes them tick.
"I have been to St James' Park about half a dozen times this season. And everytime I have come away, I have been impressed with him. He has just taken his game to another level. He's like, 'I'm the captain, I'm the leader, everybody is looking at me, if I don't impress, nobody else is going to'."
Shelvey saw his game time reduced last season, as he fell out of favour with the now-departed Rafa Benitez, but things have changed for the Englishmen this season.
Now under the stewardship of Steve Bruce, he has returned to the starting XI on a regular basis, and on his day he can prove to be the difference for the Magpies.
Against the Premier League champions, Manchester City, he scored a brilliant late strike to seal a point for his team, as he showcased what he can do when he is at this best.
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