Despite a whole host of midfield injuries, Gareth Southgate avoided calling up Jonjo Shelvey to the England squad once again last week, and he has since ‘explained’ why he didn’t – claiming it’s because the NUFC midfielder is a ‘different type of player’ to what they need, as he plays as a ‘quarter-back’ for his club.
After injuries to Henderson, Winks and Delph, Southgate chose to call-up Burnley’s Jack Cork, West Brom’s Jake Livermore and more recently, Bournemouth’s 20 year-old midfielder Lewis Cook – a player who didn’t even start for The Cherries in the game at SJP over a week ago.
Here’s Southgate’s response to questions over Jonjo Shelvey’s omission:
“I think Jonjo’s a different type of player,”
“He plays deeper, he players almost in the quarter-back position for his club.
“We were needing something a little bit different for these games.”
Yes Shelvey likes to pick the ball up from deep and dictate the play, but he is a forward thinking midfielder – something England have severely lacked in recent games.
The ‘quarter-back- reference is short sighted – he is not always such a deep lying midfielder. As he’s shown for us and his time at Swansea, he’s more than capable of playing slightly higher up in a central midfield role.
It seems a poor explanation from Southgate, who is suggesting Shelvey plays too deep, yet his current midfield options are hardly forward thinking (Dier, Cork, Livermore).
Southgate also claims he didn’t pick him as he needs ‘something a little big different for these games’, yet a forward thinking player like Shelvey could’ve been exactly that.
Inspiring stuff from the England boss.