JONJO SHELVEY will not be spending too much time fretting over his continued exclusion from the England squad, even though his chances of appearing at next summer’s World Cup finals appear to be almost non-existent.

Shelvey won the last of his six England caps in a friendly against France almost two years ago, and has not even featured in a squad since Gareth Southgate was appointed as manager.

Southgate was unable to call on a host of senior midfielders for this month’s double-header against Germany and Brazil, but opted to hand maiden call-ups to Crystal Palace’s Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Burnley’s Jack Cork and Bournemouth’s Lewis Cook rather than turn to Shelvey.

The England boss justified his decision by claiming that Shelvey’s ‘quarter-back role’ at Newcastle United, which often sees the 25-year-old sitting deep and looking to play long-range balls towards the forwards, does not suit the style of play he is trying to adopt with England.

In Friday's game with Germany, Southgate fielded two defensive midfielders and a roving play-maker behind two centre-forwards, and he clearly does not see Shelvey fitting in to his preferred formation.

That is unlikely to change between now and next summer, and with the likes of Jordan Henderson, Dele Alli and Adam Lallana set to return to challenge for a place in England’s World Cup squad, it is hard to see Shelvey forcing his way on to the plane to Russia.

In the past, the Magpies midfielder has questioned whether his outspoken approach has hampered his international prospects, but with Southgate’s latest snub having once again cast him into the wilderness, he is refusing to get too hung up on his England career, preferring instead to focus on his responsibilities with Newcastle.

“I’ve said things in the past about the England set-up,” said Shelvey. “It just is what it is. I mean, I’ve really not got an opinion on it at the minute.

“I’ve obviously been back in the Newcastle team, which I worked hard to get back into, and my main goal at this moment in time is to stay in that team and try and obviously improve my performances, and then whatever will be, will be.”

Newcastle return to action with one of their most demanding games of the season on Saturday when they travel to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United in a tea-time kick-off.

The Magpies went into the international break on the back of successive 1-0 defeats to Burnley and Bournemouth, and the losses took some of the shine off what had been an otherwise successful start to the season.

Rafael Benitez’s side find themselves in the bottom half of the table ahead of this weekend’s games, but Shelvey insists it is important to remember how far they have come since suffering relegation in the first couple of months of Benitez’s reign.

“You’re going to lose games in this league,” he said. “It’s part and parcel of football at the end of the day. I think people should remember how well we’ve actually done this season. We’re sitting in 11th place, and we’re a newly-promoted team. There’s a lot of expectation, which comes with this football club, but I think we’ve done very well so far to be five points clear of the relegation zone.”

Saturday’s trip to Old Trafford kicks off a daunting spell between now and the end of the year that will also see Newcastle travel to Chelsea and Arsenal as well as hosting Manchester City.

They have only played two members of the current top six in their opening 11 games, but Shelvey will be embracing the upcoming challenges rather than fearing them.

“There’s no bigger game than Man United away at Old Trafford,” he said. “Obviously, we’ve got a difficult Christmas period coming up, but I’m sure that we’ll be all right.”