Newcastle captain Jonjo Shelvey apologised to his team mates after his red card for a stamp on Tottenham Hotspur’s Dele Alli left them with 10 men for almost all the second half in the 2-0 Premier League defeat at St James’ Park on Sunday. “Jonjo apologised to the team after the game,” said manager Rafa Benitez.
TV replays showed Shelvey deliberately trod on Alli’s ankle in full view of referee Andre Marriner after the Tottenham player failed to give him the ball. The referee immediately gave the midfielder a straight red card.
Shelvey will now serve an automatic three-match ban, missing games against Huddersfield Town, West Ham United and Swansea City as Newcastle seek to re-establish themselves in England’s top tier after promotion.
Shelvey’s moment of madness changed the course of the game with Newcastle still level.
It appeared even more ill-advised because Newcastle had already lost two players injured in a hectic first half hour. The incident happened in the 48th minute after Alli had been fouled by Isaac Hayden.
Shelvey went to get the ball from Alli and, apparently annoyed when the Spurs midfielder knocked it away, stepped on Alli’s ankle.
Benitez admitted Shelvey’s red card changed the match but said the stamp was not as dangerous as a Harry Kane tackle on Florian Lejeune, for which he was booked.
“It was difficult from the beginning. We had to adapt things [after injuries]. The red card changed everything. I think we were defending well. We have to improve. We had our chances but we missed them,” Benitez said.
“The Harry Kane tackle was worse than this one. It’s more dangerous. We lost one player from that. We made a mistake, but I think maybe someone has to analyse these things to see what’s more dangerous.”
Alli did not want to talk about the incident when he was interviewed by Sky TV after the game. “It was one of those things. He is a great player and I am sure he is going to be disappointed,” he said.
“I have been called up a couple of times for my own temper but it is important we kept our cool.”
The red card is the third of the 25-year-old Shelvey’s controversial career and follows the five-match ban and 100,000 pound ($130,110.00) fine he received last season for racially abusing Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Moroccan-born player Romain Saiss.
Five years ago he was also involved in a touchline argument with former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson when he was sent off while playing for Liverpool for a two-footed lunge on Jonny Evans.