Jonjo Shelvey had an absolute shocker last night…up until he curled a 86th minute shot into the top corner to take us to penalties, that is!
He deserves credit for stepping up with a moment of real quality just when we needed it, however his performance on the whole was pretty dreadful. Shelvey barely moved after being beaten to the ball before for Newport’s goal and did little other than hoof hopeful punts up the pitch or go backwards to his centre-backs (who then went long!) when he got a hold of it.
That said, possibly the most alarming thing to come from Jonjo last night was his post-match comments on our style of play under Steve Bruce.
He claims that we would’ve just played long balls had we been playing under Rafa Benitez, stating that Steve Bruce instead has us playing the right way – an embarrassing comment to make given we spent most of last night sat watching us play hoof-ball up to Andy Carroll!
Here’s what he told NUFC TV in a quite unbelievable interview after the game:
“We know that we have got character.
“Going back two or three years ago, we probably would have just tried lumping the ball into the box but the gaffer wants us to play.
“We have took a lot of criticism to be fair over the past couple of weeks about not creating enough chances and stuff like that.
“We worked on it yesterday to keep going, keep probing and keep passing the ball.
“I felt we created so many chances and we just didn’t put them away towards the end, we came away with the win though, which is the main thing.”
His goal was stunning, but I’m more stunned by his comments here.
The two clips included in this article may seem conveniently placed to support my argument, however I’m sure most Mags who watched last night’s dreadful display will agree that the football played was pretty atrocious.
Shelvey clearly prefers Steve Bruce to Rafa Benitez – but that’s probably because he’s allowed to get away with murder under one, yet was disciplined or dropped for lowering his standards under the other.
There’s no doubt he has bundles of ability and I also feel we’d lack that midfielder able to create from deep and move the ball forward if you took him out of our side, however his passive display last night combined with his blind loyalty to Bruce after the game is pretty concerning.
Are we the only ones who are seeing how bad we are to watch?