Team news: Shelvey starts
Written by Rory Mitchinson
Jonjo Shelvey makes his first start for Newcastle United since 3rd November as Newcastle United take on Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday evening.
All of Shelvey’s appearances since – including six in the Premier League and one in the FA Cup – have come from the bench, but the midfielder has been preferred to Mohamed Diamé and Ki Sung-yueng in the centre of the park for the Magpies’ penultimate away fixture of the season, partnering Isaac Hayden.
Elsewhere, Federico Fernández takes over Jamaal Lascelles’ place in the heart of the backline, with the United skipper sidelined following an illness. The Argentine joins Javier Manquillo, Fabian Schär, Paul Dummett and Matt Ritchie in an otherwise unchanged five-man defence.
A third and final alteration to Rafa Benítez’s starting XI sees Christian Atsu replace the injured Miguel Almirón, who is set to sit out the remainder of the campaign. Atsu and in-form forward Ayoze Pérez – who struck a hat-trick against Southampton a week ago – will sit just behind lone frontman Salomón Rondón.
On the bench, there is a place for January signing Antonio Barreca, who hasn’t figured since the Magpies’ narrow defeat to Tottenham Hotspur within days of his arrival at the club.