sport news Rafa Benitez admits Jonjo Shelvey faces a tough task to regain his starting ...

'It is very easy to explain why he is not playing': Rafa Benitez admits Jonjo Shelvey faces a tough task to regain his starting spot for Newcastle Jonjo Shelvey has slipped to fifth-choice midfielder at Newcastle after an injury  In his absence, Isaac Hayden and Sean Longstaff have impressed for Magpies  Shelvey scored for Newcastle Under-23s at Fulham as he bids for match fitness 

By Craig Hope for MailOnline

Published: 23:18 GMT, 1 March 2019 | Updated: 23:18 GMT, 1 March 2019

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Rafa Benitez says Jonjo Shelvey is now his fifth-choice midfielder at Newcastle.

The 27-year-old is available for selection following a thigh injury but cannot make the bench and has watched the last two matches from the stands.

Shelvey played for the Under-23s at Fulham on Friday in a bid to gain match fitness and will not be in the squad for Saturday's trip to West Ham.

Jonjo Shelvey is now fifth-choice midfielder at Newcastle after suffering a thigh injury

Jonjo Shelvey is now fifth-choice midfielder at Newcastle after suffering a thigh injury

Benitez will start with Sean Longstaff and Isaac Hayden at the London Stadium, while Mo Diame and Ki Sung-yueng will compete for a place among the

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