Jonjo Shelvey wants an easy life in football. He’s not Henri Saivet levels of wanting an easy life, because apparently, he wants to be on the pitch but he doesn’t seem to care much more after that.
Last year, Matt Ritchie claimed that Shelvey could ‘easily’ play for Barcelona if he focused on his football and didn’t put all his time into golf. This sums up Shelvey’s frustrating career at Newcastle perfectly.
According to Jonjo Shelvey, in an interview with the Studs Up Podcast, he left Liverpool due to lack of football, saying, “I wanted to go somewhere and not worry about if you have one bad game you’re still going to play, and I’d had that at Charlton. When you go to Liverpool, you play a game and someone comes back from injury and they’ve got a bigger name and they’re straight back in the team even if you’d done really well – I wanted to get away from that.”
Now while it’s admirable thing to have the desire to play football and not be consigned to the bench, there is irony in his sentiment here given that his presence is keeping out the likes of Matty Longstaff for similar reasons.
Shelvey was a young man during his time at Liverpool and it just might have been the case that he could have emulated the career of another young midfielder at the time in Jordan Henderson had he been willing to muck in and put in the effort to improve himself.
Shelvey’s effort has been a constant criticism throughout his career and time at Newcastle and I think it’s unsurprising that his latest comments back the manager who will pick him no matter what. In fact, Shelvey’s comments, though kind to Newcastle fans, show why he is a frustrating player and how he doesn’t get what we need as fans.
I once had a frustrating conversation with a person who insisted that the reason people didn’t like the critical flop, Suicide Squad, was because they didn’t understand that they were supervillains and not superheroes… According to this person, the whole reason that the film was disliked was all down to the fact that people couldn’t understand that the film was about bad guys and not because numerous story, dialogue and filming issues.
Jonjo Shelvey provided the same sort of energy with his defence of Steve Bruce saying “What people probably don’t understand about our gaffer is… Steve Bruce, he’s a Geordie, he knows what the club [Newcastle United] is about. He has stood on them terraces. He knows what is expected and I know how much potential this club has got.”
I’m not sure what he’s trying to achieve with this point… Steve Bruce hasn’t shut up about being a Geordie and “getting it” despite constant evidence to the contrary. The fact that Bruce has statistically provided some of the worst results in the club’s history is a whole lot more of an important point for Newcastle’s wellbeing that Bruce being a Geordie…
I don’t expect Shelvey to mention something like this, obviously, but claiming that people “don’t understand” that he is a Geordie is nonsensical and pointless. In fact, this feels like a long way round of claiming he should be our manager purely for the reason that he grew up as Newcastle fan.
Shelvey goes on to say…“We’ve got four games now [interview was before 1-1 draw with Wolves], against teams that we should really be getting something from, no disrespect.
“All you’ve got to do is stick together and work hard on the training pitch and listen to what the gaffer’s got to say…and we’ll be alright…and I firmly believe that.”
This is a losing attitude that seeps straight down from Steve Bruce. The idea that we should have to wait for ‘winnable’ games to pick up points is a real sad state of affairs.
Charlie Austin goes on to question Shelvey about backing Bruce and the midfielder’s response blew my mind:
“Yeah, I mean with our gaffer, he gets a lot of stick and a lot of online abuse and things like that, but no disrespect, he played over 700 and something games in the Premier League, he’s won all sorts, he was captain of Man Utd.” – This has no bearing on football managing ability and the fact that this is the first thing you refer to when discussing his managerial ability says a thousand things.
“The man knows what he is doing.” – No, he doesn’t.
“He’s been there and done it. He’s got the t-shirt.” – This is a pointless idiom that Steve Bruce also likes to deploy.
He has t-shirts with “I’ve just been relegated and all I got was this stupid t-shirt”.
“So as a football player, if he’s my manager, and he’s done all that and the way he is with me. I’m going to bust my balls off working for him, do you know what I mean, while he’s still in charge.” – I’m sorry but you’re known as one of the laziest footballers in English football for a reason. There have been numerous instances of you not “busting your **** off” under Bruce and other managers.
“Our gaffer has been spot on…he is the best man manager I have worked under.” – What does “man manager” mean in this context? Because when I think of “man managers” such as Keegan and Robson (who had more going for them but were known for their affable natures) I think of this translating into effort from the players. Given that we’ve seen more effort from a non “man manager” team under Rafa Benitez, I take umbrage with that this actually means.
Matt Ritchie claimed that Shelvey prefers to spend his time playing golf than improving his football. Under Rafa Benitez, Shelvey’s first place spot wasn’t guaranteed but under Bruce it is. Shelvey’s lifestyle and effort hasn’t changed in that time, so the only way I can see his definition of Bruce working out is that means Bruce plays him no matter what and he’s comfortable.
“The way he manages people, like individuals, he knows how to speak to certain individuals and for me, as a footballer, that’s what I want to work with.” – There’s been numerous reports of players falling out with him. Players who are used to playing at a high level and have aspirations have criticised Bruce so is it you “as a footballer”, Jonjo, or is it you as a golfer?
“One thing he says, is that even if you are not having a good game, you work your socks off.” – He may say it but it doesn’t translate onto the pitch.
“He’s big on the stats side of it and how much we run and things like that. If you don’t run for him, you’re not playing next week.” – “how much we run and things like that” is probably about as technical as I’d expect Bruce and Shelvey to be.
Also, we’re not stupid, Jonjo, we’ve all watched you playing for us before and you have been one of the guiltiest players of not putting in the expected effort.
Jonjo Shelvey really epitomises Bruce’s reign as Newcastle manager and I’m not surprised that he loves him so much. Lazy players will love lazy managers.