Jonjo Shelvey had been endearing himself to parts of the St James’ Park faithful by insisting he has no intentions to quit Newcastle, but the United midfielder has fans reacting online again after comparing Steve Bruce to Rafa Benitez.
Speaking during the squad’s pre-season tour of Asia, as quoted by the Chronicle, the former Liverpool and Swansea man asserted that the first-team are happy with the club’s decision to appoint Bruce, even though many supporters had described it as an underwhelming selection.
The fact that Bruce has not taken charge of a top-flight fixture since the close of the 2014/15 season, when he was relegated with Hull City, has been one cause of the dissatisfaction around Tyneside recently, while the former Sheffield Wednesday head coach also holds the second-worst win rate of any Premier League boss with more than 250 games to their name.
Shelvey, though, is confident the 58-year-old is already making a difference, and has pleaded with fans to give the new gaffer a chance.
“Rafa isn’t here anymore, we need to get on with it,” he said. “Steve has come in, and it’s been like a breath of fresh air.
“The fans need to give him a chance, because I think if they do that, [and] if we play like we did against West Ham, we will do well week in, week out, and they won’t have any reason for complaint.”
“I think Steve is more straight with you [than Benitez was],” the £15million-valued midfielder added. “As soon as he came in, all he expects is that you work hard. If you work hard, you will be fine, that’s what we need to do.”
While Shelvey suggested Bruce has been more straightforward with him than Benitez may have been, the £70,000-a-week former England international also praised the Spaniard’s abilities, but hinted his methods were not as well suited to his.
“Steve is a lot different to Rafa,” Shelvey stated. “You never knew what Rafa was thinking.
“His record speaks for itself, and he probably didn’t need to talk to you and tell you what he’s thinking, but personally, as a player, I’d rather have someone who talks to you and you know what he’s thinking.
“That’s not knocking Rafa, because he was a terrific, terrific manager, but for me personally [Bruce’s methods are better].”
Here’s how these Newcastle supporters reacted to Shelvey’s comments on Bruce and Benitez…