Dan Barlaser has leaped to the defence of former teammate Jonjo Shelvey, and was quick to play down suggestions that our current vice-captain is “lazy”.
England international Shelvey has endured criticism from segments of the Toon Army for his apparent unenthusiastic performances in midfield.
In April, he even responded to a fan on NUFC TV who called him out for his effort, defending his performances and citing how statistics prove he does put the work rate in.
Barlaser, who now plays for Rotherham, spoke to Newcastle Fans TV to set the record straight:
“He’s more of a leader on the pitch if you know what I mean. He’s not as talkative before games, but on the pitch he’s very talkative.
“He’s a great lad, he’s got good craic, he doesn’t really get into many arguments, and he’s a very good player.
“The fans are saying he’s lazy, and it’s hard because I’m quite similar.
“If you’re playing as a sitting midfielder, everyone thinks you’re not moving and you look at your stats afterwards and you’ve done 11km.
“People think you haven’t moved, but moving constantly side to side and forwards and back tallies up. He is quite fit, last pre-season when I came in he seemed quite fit.”
Like it or lump it, Shelvey remains arguably our most talented midfielder and he has been one of our most important players since his arrival over five years ago.
Toon fans – like every other out there – can, at times, be fickle and it wasn’t so long ago that many were clamouring for him to be picked in the England squad.
We do need to bring another midfielder in this summer but I wouldn’t be in a hurry to see Shelvey sold anytime soon.
An addition of real quality to keep Shelvey on his toes would bring the best back out of him. Still only 29-years-old, he still has an integral part to play in our squad over the next few years.