Saturday, January 28, 2023

Newcastle: Turner-Cooke can replace Shelvey

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Newcastle United are only just making their return to competitive action following the recent World Cup break, although manager Eddie Howe has already been dealt a frustrating blow following news that Jonjo Shelvey is set for an extended period on the sidelines due to injury.

The former Bournemouth boss revealed earlier this week that the Englishman is facing six to eight weeks on the treatment table, after sustaining a calf injury in the friendly win over Rayo Vallecano.

The 30-year-old subsequently returned to training and featured off the bench in the Carabao Cup triumph over the Cherries, although Howe explained that the former Swansea City man felt a strain in his calf once again following that win, ensuring he was absent from the Boxing Day victory over Leicester City.

Having been lauded as a “key component” of the squad by his manager, it will no doubt be a real source of frustration for Shelvey to have been struck down once again, with the one-time Liverpool man having only recently returned from the hamstring injury he sustained during pre-season.

As it is, the loss of the £70k-per-week man will leave the northeast side’s options in the centre of the park somewhat limited, with Howe seemingly needing to find a solution to help fill the void over the next few months.

While arguably the easiest option would be to seek a new recruit in the January transfer window, the Tynesiders could well be better served looking towards the academy instead, with promising teenager Jay Turner-Cooke one such figure who could be deserving of a promotion.

The 18-year-old playmaker – who can feature in the centre of the park or in an advanced midfield role – has been on the cusp of the first team of late, having been handed a chance to impress during the club’s recent mid-season friendlies.

The former Sunderland ace – who made the move to St James’ Park back in January 2021 – has caught the attention as a result of his sparkling form at youth level of late, having scored once and laid on two assists in just eight Premier League 2 games.

That ensures that the Englishman’s overall record at U21 level stands at an impressive eight goals and six assists in just 29 games, while he also has eight goals and one assist to his name in only 19 games for the club’s U18 side.

Lauded as a “special talent” by Howe, the Englishman has been tipped for a potential loan exit in the New Year, although this recent loss of Shelvey may well make the Newcastle boss re-think that decision, with there now a hole to be filled in the senior ranks.



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