Jonjo Shelvey: I let Newcastle down last season '“ and I MUST put it right
Jonjo Shelvey says Newcastle United's relegation hit him hard.
But the midfielder came back to St James’s Park determined hit the club’s Championship opponents harder still.
And Shelvey has done just that after working through the summer on his fitness.
The 24-year-old, signed from Swansea City for £12million in January, took his goal tally for the season to three with two strikes in Tuesday night’s 6-0 win over Queens Park Rangers.
Shelvey ran the length of the pitch to celebrate with United’s travelling fans after opening the scoring with a deflected first-half strike.
The England international netted with a stunning 25-yard effort after the break in front of United’s 3,005-strong support.
“The first was a little bit lucky to be honest with you,” said Shelvey.
“It took a bit of deflection and it seemed to take about two minutes to go in!
“But I think the first goal helped us in terms of allowing us to get a foothold in the game and it allowed us to score a lot more.
“Then I think the third goal killed the game off to be honest with you and allowed us to go on and win emphatically.
“For the second, I quite often try that sort of effort in training and 99% of the time they don’t come off!
“But if you don’t try them, you won’t score.
“I’m not one to shy away from a shot so I’m just grateful it nestled in the far corner like it did.”
Shelvey didn’t score in the second half of last season after joining from Swansea.
The Londoner, handed the captain’s armband by Steve McClaren, found himself on the bench for the last few weeks of the season as the club battled to stay in the Premier League.
And the experience of relegation, and his own demotion to the bench, hurt Shelvey, who briefly crossed paths with United manager Rafa Benitez at Liverpool earlier in his career.
Shelvey felt he had let the club down.
“Obviously, it’s not nice,” he said. “You want to play in the Premier League, but it was our fault as players at the end of the day.
“It’s down to us to get us back into the top flight. You’ve just got to deal with it and get ready for trips to Loftus Road.
“I don’t think there’s self-sulking. Personally I went away feeling very down and depressed because you’ve let the club down. You’ve let people down.
“The club have brought you in and expect you to perform to a certain level and the team didn’t do that. Now it’s down to us to put that right.”
Newcastle were favourites to win the Championship before a ball was kicked, and Shelvey feels Benitez’s experience has helped the players cope with the pressure so far thi season.
“I think it starts from the manager to be fair,” said Shelvey.
“He’s very experienced. “Even at half-time, when we were 2-0 up (against QPR), he was speaking at length about how the game wasn’t finished and that we needed the third goal to kill it off.
“Thankfully we got that. Playing for Newcastle in this league, you’re going to have pressure on you.
“If you can’t deal with that then you shouldn’t really be playing for this club.”
Shelvey felt the performance had been coming from an improving United, who have now gone 495 minutes without conceding a goal in all competitions.
“This performance sends out a message to the league,” said Shelvey.
“We needed to go and put down a marker.
“We’ve won six on the bounce now and it’s a real eye-opener for the other teams in the league.”
Meanwhile, Benitez feels Shelvey is reaping the rewards from his work over the summer.
“He worked very hard during the summer,” he said.