JONJO Shelvey has apologised to Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez and his team-mates for the "moment of madness" which cost him his place in the team.

The 25-year-old midfielder was sent off for a stamp on Dele Alli during the 2-0 home defeat by Tottenham on the Magpies' return to the Premier League, and has paid the price since completing his ban.

He has been used only as a substitute in the club's last two games, and that is a situation he hopes will change when his former club Liverpool head for St James' Park on Sunday.

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But while Shelvey, who has consulted a psychologist over anger management issues, is repentant, he has taken a swipe at how the Alli incident has been portrayed.

Speaking out for the first time since his red card, he told NUFC TV: "You can learn from anything, but I couldn't tell to this day what I was doing and couldn't put my finger on it.

"It was just a moment of madness, an error that I've apologised for.

"The only people I will apologise to is my team-mates, manager and the fans - nobody else outside of this football club.

"It's nothing to do with them, they can print or say what they want. I know the people I let down and myself, but more importantly I let my team-mates down."

Shelvey has had to sit by and watch summer signing Mikel Merino establish himself in Newcastle's midfield in recent weeks, and he is still bristling about some of what has been said and written about him.

He said: "You just get people chatting a load of rubbish about you, to be honest. You don't listen to them."

Liverpool's visit to Tyneside could give Shelvey a chance to establish himself once again, and to reflect on his three years at Anfield.

He said: "Being a young lad moving from London to Liverpool, it wasn't that easy to go straight in and play, but I felt like I did well there.

"I had the choice whether to leave or stay. I was at the age where I wanted to play more and more games, and I ended up moving to Swansea from Liverpool.

"It was a massive club and in hindsight it was a big call to move from Liverpool, but I felt it was the right one at the time. I feel like it paid off as I ended up playing a lot more games."

Newcastle striker Aleksandar Mitrovic, meanwhile, is available after suspension. The Serbia international has missed the last three games after being found guilty - on video evidence - of violent conduct during the 3-0 victory over West Ham.

Florian Lejeune returns to contention after shaking off an ankle injury, but Benitez otherwise has no fresh injury concerns with only fellow defenders Paul Dummett (hamstring) and Massadio Haidara (knee) missing.