By Will Butcher
Football Insider analyses three talking points from Newcastle’s penalty shootout loss against Hull in the quarter final of the EFL Cup on Tuesday night, after the sides played out a 1-1 draw.
Benitez must keep Shelvey
The England international proved once again his obvious class as he dictated the tempo against the Toon’s Premier League opposition. The former Liverpool star’s superb ability to produce a driven pass was on show once again, as he sat at the base of the Toon midfield. His passing, both short and long, was the foundation of Newcastle’s attacks and it is of vital importance to Newcastle’s promotion hunt that the midfielder stays on Tyneside come January. There is, no doubt, going to be interest in the Charlton Athletic academy product, but Benitez must do his utmost to keep him at St. James’ Park.
Lascelles is mature beyond his age
At just 23, the Newcastle captain has shown this season that you do not need experience to be a successful captain. At the heart of the Toon defence, Lascelles kept Hull out with a number of important tackles and clearances as he secured his 11th clean sheet of the season in just 20 league and cup encounters. He and summer signing Ciaran Clark were sublime in the Toon defence as the game went into extra time.
Atsu should be signed permanently
Currently on loan from Chelsea, the 24-year-old was in excellent form when he came on as he finally provided the spark that had been missing throughout the cup tie. His pace and direct mentality put the Hull defence on the back foot, as the game sparked into life during extra time. In what is his fifth career loan spell, the Ghana international could be allowed to leave Stamford Bridge as Chelsea risk losing him on a free in just over 18 month’s time. Newcastle should be at the front of the queue to sign him.
In other Newcastle news, this attacking midfielder has given his verdict on the Newcastle squad.