By Darren Bent

19th Feb, 2020 | 6:00pm

'How do you replace him?' - Exclusive: Bent reacts to significant Newcastle player report

Darren Bent believes Newcastle United are doing the “right thing” in tying Jonjo Shelvey and Matt Ritchie to new contract deals.

The former Sunderland and England striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, says that trying to replace the senior members of the squad is a task easier said than done.

According to the Shields Gazette, the Magpies have agreed terms with both the Scotland and England internationals, with both of their current deals set to expire in the summer of 2021.

Bent says that while he might have been inconsistent, finding someone of Shelvey’s quality is no easy task and that keeping him on board is a sensible decision from the Magpies.

Asked if it was an important boost to tie down two senior players, Bent told Football Insider: “Yeah, it is, yeah. Jonjo Shelvey maybe hasn’t lived up to the hype that people were expecting but at the same time you can’t afford to let good players like that go.

“You let him go, say he goes on a free or something, then how do you replace him, because he’s got a lot of quality? We’ve seen it on occasions this season, maybe not as frequently as we would have liked but you’ve still seen the quality.

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“You think you let someone of his quality go, how do you replace him, it’s going to be very, very hard. For me I think it’s the right thing to do, offer him a new contract, because maybe there’s nobody else.”

Shelvey has played 17 times for the Magpies this season, with injury curtailing his campaign at various points.

Despite that, he sits as the club’s top scorer in the Premier League so far, with five top-flight goals in 15 appearances.

In other Newcastle United news, Darren Bent has hit out at the “harsh” treatment of a senior star with an “impossible task.”