When Jonjo Shelvey was interviewed during the summer about his Newcastle United future, and his past for that matter, he revealed he was very close to joining West Ham last summer.
If that offer comes in again, the club simply have to sell him.
Shelvey has endured a horrendous start to the season and gave possibly his worst ever performance in a black and white shirt on Saturday – which considering his horror show at Norwich (yes I know he scored) takes some beating.
The problem isn’t that Shelvey is a bad footballer, far from it. He is one of the more technically gifted in our squad. It also isn’t solely down to his work rate, as I don’t think he is as lazy as he is made out to be. He isn’t the most mobile for sure, due to the fact he isn’t the most natural of athletes. However simply calling him lazy, that in itself is a lazy assumption, perpetuated by the player’s languid gate.
The problem with Shelvey is, where does he fit in? I wrote a few weeks ago about why I would drop him, then before Brighton I wrote why I would play him, and now I’m writing about why he should be dropped again after a bad game, so I’m aware I’m playing up to the fickle stereotype of the typical football fan.
The point is that if Shelvey can’t influence these kind of games, against relegation rivals, and especially at home, then when is he going to? He simply isn’t good enough off the ball to contribute When we don’t have the ball, and we don’t have enough of the ball in any match it seems to make use of him. As I’ve said previously, he slows us down so much. Time almost seems to stop when Shelvey gets the ball, and not in a good way. He drops too deep, and takes an age to release the ball, often trying the “Hollywood” pass. Ask yourself this, do teams press or harry him? No, they get set and let him have the ball, as what are the chances of him hurting them with a 60-70 yard pass.
We looked infinitely better when Ki came on against Brighton, as the South Korean is capable of playing simple forward passes at pace, but also keeping possession. It also is clear that Hayden isn’t as good along side Shelvey, as he has to work twice as hard seemingly.
Another issue is body language. He had his head down and looked defeated as soon as he missed that penalty against Leicester in the cup and he wasn’t much better against Brighton, looking uninterested for most of the game.
Of course, Shelvey looked brilliant at times under Rafa and improved his disciplinary record, but not enough for the Spaniard to want to keep him. Also at the risk of sounding negative, does anyone actually have belief in Bruce to make Shelvey fulfil his potential?
Sadly, I feel the time has come to accept it’s just not working with Jonjo Shelvey and this Newcastle United side.
Not only is he our top earner on £80,000 per week, he’s a luxury this team can’t afford and a player who just doesn’t look up for the fight. In a two man midfield and a side that simply doesn’t see much of the ball, he doesn’t work.
Time to cash in this winter and replace him with a hard working ball player capable of providing Sean Longstaff with far more reliable competition in midfield.