Last week, Jonjo Shelvey made his return from a long-term injury in the Under-23s 4-0 win over Birmingham.
After the game he said he’d made one or two tweaks to his game that would help him in the future. Changes he felt would help him steer injury clear and improve his game now he had it all to prove to the new owners.
He declared himself fit for the Spurs game and said, “I’ve got 18 months left on my contract, so it comes down to me to show the new people in charge what I’m about.”
Defiant and determined words, yet what followed from him last Sunday proves talk is cheap, with his atrocious cameo making a mockery of his pre-match comments.
Shelvey is a luxury but one of those players that delight and excite pundits and co-commentators up and down the country. They talk of his wonderful touch, his eye for a pass and his quality on the ball. Honestly I’m not sure where they get it from.
To me he’ll stand in the middle of the pitch hoping the ball will come to him and then he’ll try the “Hollywood” ball over and over despite how many times it doesn’t come off. His pace is non-existent and his seemingly unwillingness to graft for the team stand out like a sore thumb.
Don’t get me wrong. I was pleased when he signed and I think he did a great job for a long time. I never understood why he was made captain mind as not the sort of player that would motivate me if I played alongside him. But, at times when he first came he was quality. Now though I believe injuries and the speed of the Premier League has caught up with him.
Witness his performance on Sunday when sent on with 30 minutes to go in the hope he could change the game. 60 minutes to 78 minutes constantly bypassed in midfield and no tracking back. Not one single pass or shot that lifted the side or performance.
Then on 78 minutes rightly yellow carded for a petulant trip when he was left flat-footed once again and out of the play. Then, boosh, five minutes later a ridiculous challenge saw him red carded and sent off.
Perhaps one of the worst cameos I’ve ever seen and as Alan Shearer said, “stupid.” For me he showed the new people exactly what he is indeed all about. I think any of them watching and any prospective new manager analysing the display will now know exactly what to do with him next.