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2 Goals And 14 Created Chances – Is this Evertonian A Perfect Partner In Crime For Newcastle’s Shelvey?

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Newcastle’s campaign might soon receive a huge boost as it has emerged that Everton midfielder James McCarthy, would most likely leave Goodison Park in the ongoing transfer window, with Saint James’ Park a possible destination for the 26-year-old Ireland international.

The arrival of Morgan Schneiderlin from Manchester Old Trafford and emergence of Tom Davies would no doubt see McCarthy become surplus to requirements at the Merseyside club, thereby seeing game time harder to come by, hence an imminent exit.

Newcastle have been linked with the Irish midfielder, and he is now a favourite to link up with the Magpies. However, a question that begs an answer is how valuable would he be to the team if a move works out eventually? Would James McCarthy be a perfect partner for Jonjo Shelvey or would he be a squad player?

Shelvey has been Newcastle’s most important player alongside Dwight Gayle this term, with the team having apparently struggled during his 5-game ban that recently came to an end. The former Swansea man has helped keep the midfield ticking in a deep-lying position in Newcastle’s most common 4-4-1-1 formation.

His midfield partner, Isaac Hayden, has put in commendable efforts with and without the 24-year-old, but the defensive midfielder doesn’t look anywhere capable of keeping his starting berth if McCarthy arrives.

A recurring injury he just fully recovered from has limited him to just 6 starts and 2 other appearances as a substitute in Everton’s Premier League campaign, but his numbers last term, when he played 29 games, highlight his impact in the middle of the pack.

McCarthy averaged 4 defensive actions per game, won 43% of his duels and completed 83% of his passes last season. The midfielder contributed to the attack by scoring twice and creating 14 chances.

Image result for James McCarthy 2016-17

In 20 Championship appearances this term, Hayden has averaged 4 defensive actions, won 51% of his duels and completed 79% of his passes. The former Arsenal youth player has carved out 20 chances and has a goal to his credit, but despite those flattering numbers, the 21-year-old doesn’t come near McCarthy’s quality.

With his blocking abilities, concentration level and most importantly, top-flight experience, the Irish midfielder would be the perfect partner for Shelvey in the middle of the park as Newcastle prepares for life in the top flight and try to wrap up their campaign with a title win.

Shelvey has largely been the main anchor of Newcastle’s midfield, combining both offensive and defensive duties excellently well. He has often had to provide support for Hayden as the development of the youngster continues, but in McCarthy, he can be rest assured of having much-needed support and cover come his way, which will help him concentrate a little more on helping the team’s attack.

Both veterans can forge a working relationship that would help turn Newcastle into a dominant force to reckon with within the division and on the club’s return to the top flight, and the addition of the Republic of Ireland midfielder would go a long way in helping to shape Rafa Benitez’s midfield for the tasks and missions ahead.