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Rafa Benitez delivers verdict on Newcastle senior player, key to victory v Rotherham

By Matt Farr

Jonjo Shelvey holds the key to Newcastle’s ability to win football matches because of his precision passing.

That is the opinion of his manager Rafa Benitez, who hailed the midfielder following the 4-0 win over Rotherham on Saturday.

The 24-year-old played an instrumental role as Newcastle finally breached a stubborn Rotherham side in the dying moments of the first-half through Daryl Murphy.

The floodgates then opened for the Championship leaders, with Shelvey continuing his influence in the middle of the park, and marking the victory with an assist – his side netting three second-half goals.

Benitez was full of praise for the former Liverpool and Swansea midfielder, admitting that Shelvey held the key to unlocking defences with his passing ability.

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He told the Chronicle: “When you have a player with his quality, with his technical ability, he passes the ball precisely.

“Sometimes you can put the ball in a certain place, but you need to be precise and he is the one who can give the right pace to the ball and the right direction.”

Shelvey has been a huge asset to Newcastle this season, and undoubtedly their star man; despite concerns over his temperament.

He has nine assists and three goals from 28 appearances in all competitions, but has been suspended twice this season; once for lashing out at a Nottingham Forest player back in December, and the second a five-match ban for racial abuse.

In his absence, Newcastle picked up just two wins from their five games in all competitions, suggesting how key Shelvey is to the Magpies chances of success.

In other Newcastle news, talks over a deal to bring Andros Townsend back to the club made excellent progress over the weekend.

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