Newcastle United midfielder Jonjo Shelvey has emerged as a doubt to face Arsenal in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon.
The Magpies playmaker has been suffering with an injury for weeks, and manager Rafael Benitez has admitted that it needs managing.
That could see the midfielder, who was believed to be in line for a call up to Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the World Cup in the summer, in the stands when Unai Emery and his Arsenal side head to St James’ Park.
Shelvey played in the first two matches of the season for the Tyneside club, but he missed the defeats to Chelsea and Manchester City prior to the international break.
Benitez has now provided the reason for his absence in the media and outlined the issue with him going forward.
“Jonjo is the kind of player who wants to play in every game and he has been training, but at the same time there is a problem,” the Chronicle Live quotes him as saying.
“The last time he was pushing and pushing and we could see in training he was not fully fit. He wanted to play, he was telling us he could. I was talking to him today, but we have to see how he is during the week and decide if he is OK or not.
“We don’t talk about his quality, we talk about his fitness. He has the quality to do it, but he has to be fit because we play against another top side who moves the ball very quickly.
“He has been carrying the problem for a while, he wanted to keep playing because he has the quality. But I remember one session where he couldn’t kick the ball as long as he liked so he stopped. I told him to stop. Hopefully this time, with the international break it has given him long enough.”
Benitez could do with Shelvey being available for the Gunners clash at the weekend as he is expected to be without Matt Ritchie.
It will be four weeks since the midfielder has featured in the first team and with him being back in training there is a chance he could feature, but you sense the Spaniard will only risk his star playmaker if he is not going to do further damage which will see him back on the treatment table.