Jonjo Shelvey fractures finger breaking up a fight in Newcastle training

Newcastle United v Liverpool - Premier League

This season was never going to be easy for Rafa Benitez.

Newcastle have performed better than many would have expected so far, winning three, drawing one, and losing three of their seven games.

Following a brief flirtation with the top four, they are now down to ninth.

However, that all pales in significance compared to the latest dilemma Benitez is having to deal with.

The Telegraph report that Mo Diame and Jamaal Lascelles - the latter having just been awarded a new contract and nominated for Player of the Month - became embroiled in a furious row on the training ground on Friday.

Lascelles allegedly called Diame - who this year retired from international duty - lazy, leading to the pair coming to blows.

That's bizarre enough from two professional footballers at a club where they need to come together to ensure they don't find themselves in a relegation scrap.

But who better to act as peacemaker than Jonjo Shelvey?

Shelvey did what?!

The former Liverpool midfielder is no stranger to the headlines. After all, it's only a few weeks since his red card for a needless stamp on Dele Alli.

On this occasion, though, he was the Magpies' hero, intervening in the scrap despite taking a few blows in the process.

Brighton and Hove Albion v Newcastle United - Premier League

As per the same source, the six-time England international suffered a fractured finger in the fracas. Fortunately, he will still be able to play against Southampton next weekend with his hand in a protective cast.

Even if Shelvey's actions were admirable, the affair does not cast the club in a positive light at all and only brings flashbacks of Lee Bowyer and Kieron Dyer's infamous brawl in 2005. At least this one wasn't on the pitch.

Lascelles can count himself lucky the incident took place after the announcement that he had been awarded a six-year extension.

Benitez explained, per the BBC, that the centre-back was being rewarded after having "proven himself to be a very good leader and a good role model too". Er, right.

What do you make of Lascelles and Diame's behaviour? Have your say in the comments. 

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