Soccer-Shelvey injury is a big blow for Newcastle, says Howe

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Newcastle United v Wolverhampton Wanderers - St James' Park, Newcastle, Britain - April 8, 2022 Newcastle United's Jonjo Shelvey applauds fans after the match REUTERS/Scott Heppell

(Reuters) - Jonjo Shelvey's likely three month absence is a big blow but Newcastle United have cover for the injured midfielder without needing to bring in reinforcements, manager Eddie Howe said on Friday.

Shelvey suffered a hamstring injury in a pre-season friendly against Benfica last month and the 30-year-old is expected to be out until November.

"Losing Jonjo is a big blow, he's been a huge player for us over the past few seasons and he brings unique qualities in that midfield role," Howe told reporters ahead of Newcastle's trip to Brighton on Saturday.

"It wasn't a clear or simple injury so he's had an operation and we expect him to be out for around 12 weeks.

"I feel we have enough to cover his absence currently but you know football, that can change very quickly," he added, mentioning Bruno Guimaraes and Sean Longstaff who have both played in the position.

Howe said Shelvey was "in a much better place now after the operation than before mentally."

Newcastle beat promoted Nottingham Forest 2-0 in their opening Premier League game of the season.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Christian Radnedge)

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