After confirming his 23-man squad for this summer’s World Cup yesterday, Gareth Southgate made an unbelievable attempt to explain why he failed to include Jonjo Shelvey – stating that the midfielder’s style of play didn’t fit into the way he wants to play.
This makes absolutely no sense. He has insisted on playing out from the back and ‘playing football’ during all the qualifiers and friendlies leading up to the World Cup, yet he’s suggesting that Shelvey wouldn’t fit into a ball playing system.
It’s incredible really and yet another baffling moment from Southgate.
Here’s what he’s had to say:
“We’ve watched a lot of games this year, myself and Steve Holland (his assistant).
“We know all of the English players in the league, their strengths and weaknesses and we think the players we have picked are better than those we haven’t. We assess somebody on how they fit into how we want to play.”
“In terms of temperament, we assess someone on the way they fit into the way we want to play. Some of our finest players – (Steven) Gerrard, and others who were not ours like (Patrick) Vieira and (Roy) Keane – have more red cards than most, so we can’t just pick players who don’t get booked.
“It’s not the primary factor for us. It’s how their style of play fits, do they have the attributes to play in our system?”
If you’re wanting to play proper football, then how on earth are we going to manage when Jordan Henderson is the only midfielder we have who is sound technically (Dier, Loftus Cheek and Delph are the other 23-man options and are not nearly as skilled as Shelvey).
Southgate says Shelvey was left out of England squad because the players he's selected are "better" than those he omitted.
Also implies it's Shelvey's "personality" in the dressing room, not his discipline, which led to #nufc midfielder being left out.
— Chris Waugh (@ChrisDHWaugh) May 17, 2018
This above is also laughable, suggesting the likes of Delph, Livermore and Cook (both in the five-man standby list) are better players than Shelvey.
And regarding Shelvey’s personality in the dressing room, how on earth would he know? He’s clearly made no effort to speak to Benitez and find out just how Jonjo has developed (on and off the pitch and on and off the ball) over the past 6 months.
Weak management and an awful, contradictory ‘explanation’ from a man I have absolutely no faith in this summer.