Shelvey has spent three years away from the international scene, but the midfielder has played a key role in helping Newcastle move away from the relegation zone in the Premier League.
The playmaker remains an outsider to represent the Three Lions, but Benitez has suggested that he would like to see Shelvey included in the group which travels to Russia.
The 57-year-old is quoted by The Guardian as saying: "If Jonjo had the motivation of the World Cup, I think he'd be great.
"My feeling is that, if he goes to Russia, he can be a great player. It's not my job to talk about what Gareth Southgate has to do but what I like about Jonjo is that he's different from the players England already have and he can do a lot of things.
"It's not my decision but, if you ask me as Newcastle United's manager if Jonjo's a very good player, the answer is 'yes'. He's different and he can be good for any squad."
Shelvey has won a total of six caps for England since making his debut in 2012.