Jonjo Shelvey has admitted he is seeing a psychologist in a bid to curb the anger which is threatening to blight his career.
The 25-year-old Newcastle midfielder, who served a five-match ban last season for allegedly racially abusing Wolves counterpart Romain Saiss, was sent off on his return to the Premier League on Sunday after stamping on Tottenham’s Dele Alli.
Shelvey, who was also dismissed at Nottingham Forest last season for kicking out at Henri Lansbury only to have the red card rescinded later, apologised to his team-mates after the game as television pundits and fans queued up to condemn his behaviour.
Speaking in an interview conducted on Friday, but not published until Monday, he told the Daily Mail: “Look, sometimes I just need to rein it in on the football pitch. I need to just shut up and stuff. I need to not get involved and walk away.
“I started to see a psychologist last year to work on the mental side of things. It was after the Forest game. I was sent off. I had kicked out at this lad and it was just childish.
“When people wind me up, I should just laugh. I do need to get that out of me. Sometimes you can’t help it.
“I started to work with this fella and after that, there wasn’t really an incident when I did that. I started to learn to keep my head down and just get on with the game. But it’s an ongoing process and I am still working with him.
“Sometimes I can lose my head and it can’t keep happening.”
However, Shelvey did just that four minutes into the second half of Sunday’s game and referee Andre Marriner sent him off, in the process ending any chance of a positive result for the promoted side.
Goals from Alli and Ben Davies eventually secured victory for Spurs to leave manager Rafael Benitez bemoaning his captain’s indiscipline.
Keeper Rob Elliot revealed Shelvey, who now faces a three-match ban, cut a disconsolate figure in the dressing room afterwards, but admitted he needed to channel his passion if he is to make the most of his career.
Elliot told NUFC TV: “He was down, he was dejected. He knows he’s messed up and he held his hands up.
“It doesn’t make it right, but that’s Jonjo. He’s come a long way since he’s been here – the training regime he does on and off the pitch, he’s working, he’s working on things and he’s a great lad.
“He cares, he’s passionate and sometimes that boils over, and he’s got to learn to deal with that because he could honestly play for any team he wants to and we are very fortunate we have got him here.
“But also on the same side, we have got to make sure we help him to be the best player he can be and take us up the league and to do that, we need him on the pitch.
“Hopefully this is a good learning curve for him, we can get him back out there and he can push on and help us get up the league.”
Tottenham striker Harry Kane might have suffered a similar fate, in Elliot’s opinion, for a challenge on Florian Lejeune which left the defender on crutches but cost him only a yellow card.
The Republic of Ireland international said: “In today’s game, I don’t understand why that’s not a red card. Poor Flo, I don’t know how bad it is, but he’s in a bad way.
“No excuses for Jonjo, he knows he’s got to hold his hands up and he will, but I was a bit disappointed with the tackle on Flo. I didn’t think it was a very good tackle, if I’m honest.”