Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Benitez: Shelvey Needs to Mature; Benitez: Ban Has Helped Shelvey

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Benitez: Shelvey Needs to Mature; Benitez: Ban Has Helped Shelvey

Article excerpt

Byline: Chris Waugh Sports Writer @CHRISDHWAUGH

JONJO Shelvey must become "more mature" if he is to fulfil his potential - with Rafa Benitez warning the midfielder to "concentrate on football" and ignore the negative reception he is certain to receive at Molineux tonight.

The 24-year-old served a fivematch ban earlier this season after being found guilty of using raciallyabusive language towards Romain Saiss during Wolverhampton Wanderers' 2-0 victory over Newcastle United at St James' Park in September.

Though Shelvey (right) still maintains his innocence and the club supported him during his appeal, Benitez believes the midfielder must "learn" to control himself out on the field and rise above provocation.

"Hopefully not," Benitez replied when asked if he thought this trip to Wolves would prove to be a difficult game for Shelvey given the fact the Molineux crowd and home players are likely to goad him. "Hopefully, we can concentrate on football and that's it.

"The best thing Jonjo can do is concentrate on his football.

"He's a very good player who has to grow in terms of being more mature and being more focused on what he can do on the pitch.

"It's easy to see teams marking him man to man and trying to get him out of the game.

"He has to grow and he has to learn. It's a question of time.

"He has a lot of challenges now. He will improve and be a better player."

Interestingly, Benitez regularly speaks with Shelvey about showing self-restraint out on the pitch.

"Yes, normal ones [conversations] in the week," Benitez added.

"Nt just this week, We have been talking about that (concentrating on football)."

In 25 Championship appearances this term, Shelvey has scored four times and contributed seven assists. Many pundits have Turn to Page 73 FROM BACK PAGE labelled him the "best player" in the second tier, while Ian Holloway even claimed Shelvey was arguably the finest footballer ever to grace this division.

Benitez stresses a season in the Championship has helped the schemer to improve his all-round game.

The United boss added: "I think playing in the Championship will be really important for his future. …

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