Sky pundit Tony Cottee believes Jonjo Shelvey is England’s best passer of a football and has urged Gareth Southgate to give him his chance to prove he’s worthy of a place in his World Cup squad this summer.
One thing that has often been questioned when the ‘Shelvey for England’ argument is raised is his work off the ball, his fitness levels and his discipline, however all three have come on leaps and bounds over recent months.
It’s a big claim to suggest Shelvey is the best passer in English football, with some feeling he can be erratic at times, but when confident (and on current form), it’s something he could probably back up if he was given half a chance by Southgate.
Here’s what Tony Cottee has had to say in support of the NUFC midfielder in his latest piece for Sky Sports:
“Whether you’re talking about Eric Dier, Jake Livermore, Jack Wilshere or Jordan Henderson, whoever you name that’s been in that England squad, there isn’t anyone who can pass the ball better than Shelvey.
“He needs to keep doing it for the last five or six games, but if he carries on like he is, he deserves to have a chance of getting on that plane.
“Gareth has the style he wants for England which is based around possession and passing, but when you get teams like Tunisia and Panama who will both pack the defence, it will just be a challenge to break them down.”
“You need a Wilshere in the team, or a Shelvey, who can open up defences. You don’t want loads of workmanlike midfielders who don’t create and pass the ball.
“Jonjo brings something different to the table. I wouldn’t definitely have him in the squad, but if I was Gareth Southgate I’d be looking at him and thinking very carefully.”
This is absolutely spot on for me.
I just don’t get Livermore’s inclusion so let’s not even get started on him, but we tend to have far too many ‘workmanlike’ midfielder’s in our squad – the sort of players who will not be of much use when we are trying to break down Panama or Tunisia. Shelvey could be the difference in those games.
I get the feeling Southgate’s mind is already made up, but he’d be a fool to not even give Shelvey his chance.