'I am flabbergasted': Ray Wilkins questions Newcastle 25-year-old after win v Preston
By Matt Farr
Pundit and football coach Ray Wilkins has admitted he was ‘flabbergasted’ at Jonjo Shelvey’s restrained celebrations during Newcastle’s 4-1 win over Preston on Monday night.
The win saw Newcastle seal automatic promotion back to the Premier League at the first attempt, ending a nervy couple of weeks for the club in the Championship.
However, the 25-year-old gave a rather muted reaction to the club’s promotion on the sidelines, although celebrations will no doubt have stepped up a gear behind the scenes.
Shelvey was withdrawn by manager Rafa Benitez in the 76th-minute, but gave little reaction at the final whistle to the final result, and Wilkins questioned his lack of celebration.
He told the Premier League Daily show on Tuesday morning: “I am flabbergasted at Jonjo Shelvey’s reaction, because I thought he was one of those guys that would be thrilled to be back in the Premier League.
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“He’s a wonderful passer of a football, and I just thought he would be absolutely jumping through hoops. But that wasn’t the case.
“Whether that was because they were a little disappointed that they might not win the league, I don’t know. But to get promotion out of that league. It’s a phenomenal effort, and full credit to Rafa Benitez.”
Shelvey has been one of the standout performers for Newcastle this season throughout their successful Championship campaign.
The former Liverpool midfielder has scored five goals and supplied 12 assists for the Magpies in all competitions, but looks set to showcase his talents on England’s biggest stage once again next season.
Goals from Ayoze Perez (two), Christian Atsu and Matt Ritchie finally secured promotion for Newcastle on Monday night, following a minor slip up against Ipswich a week earlier.
A title challenge is still on the cards for the club, but they face a tough task to overturn a four point deficit behind league leaders Brighton with just two matches remaining.