Becomes biggest liability
ing the more likely to score. Brighton suddenly dropped deeper, they were worried about pressing, because finally Bruce’s side were able to pass through it, either forward or out wide.
Shelvey had not been a passenger, he was a liability and of all the problems facing Bruce, the loss of not just form, but also mobility, this is one of the most worrying. Shelvey said a few weeks ago that he was loving life under Bruce, so he cannot blame his manager for his travails.
This was as bad as he has played for Newcastle in his 3½ years on Tyneside and a niggling thigh injury only offers so much mitigation.
These should be the peak years of his career, but they are passing him by and there is only so much any manager can take. Shelvey has been a huge disappointment and if there is not a rapid improvement, he will not be around much longer. Bruce is a tolerant manager, but the Shelvey conundrum is not easily solved.
“He’s as frustrated and disappointed as I was, especially in the first half,” Bruce said, before adding that the thigh injury was not a valid excuse for what he had witnessed.
In truth, all the excuses are wearing a little thin on Tyneside. This was as bad as things have been for a long time and Shelvey may well find Bruce has a ruthless side, because he simply cannot rely on a player who can no longer rely on himself to do the things he once could.