By Noel Whelan

18th Jun, 2022 | 3:02pm

Newcastle United could sign 'standout' Jonjo Shelvey replacement after update - pundit

Noel Whelan has claimed Newcastle United could sign an “upgrade” on Jonjo Shelvey in the shape of Southampton midfielder James Ward-Prowse.

The former Leeds striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, lauded the Saints’ 27-year-old as a “standout” star at St Mary’s and suggested he would significantly improve the Magpies’ squad.

As reported by the Mirror (15 June), Newcastle and West Ham are both interested in poaching Ward-Prowse from Southampton this summer.

The midfielder’s contract with the Saints runs until 2026, meaning the south coast outfit are under no pressure to sell.

Whelan insisted Ward-Prowse would be a “sensible” signing who could take Shelvey’s place in the starting XI.

Whelan told Football Insider’s Russell Edge: “I think when you’re looking at upgrades, and you’re looking at Jonjo Shelvey, he’s (Ward-Prowse) more of a box-to-box.

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“He’s aggressive in midfield, he’s got that set-piece speciality I don’t think Jonjo Shelvey has consistently. I think he gets you more goals and wins you more games, if you’re going to ask me who fits better in that midfield.

“I think he’s a fantastic player, I really do. Every time I see him for England, he doesn’t look out of place, he looks calm and collected. If you’re looking at a standout player in a certain team, well he’s head and shoulders in those Southampton ranks.

“I do believe that these are the sort of signings Newcastle have been sensible about. They’re going for players that, realistically, can improve their team, but they can also get through the door. This is them, again, progressing and building a really competitive side in this Premier League.”

Ward-Prowse scored 11 goals and contributed eight assists in 42 games during the 2021/22 campaign.

In other news, pundit claims Newcastle United could sign Nick Pope for £20m after Sky update.