posted on 2018-04-23 22:12:55
posted by Surendhar V
With less than two months for the Football’s biggest carnival to commence, the managers must be busy in selecting their final squad members who would board the flight to Russia. Among all the countries, it is England which has drawn so much attention as the battle for a spot in the 23-man squad is intensifying every day. The midfield is one specific area where there is a huge competition since so many in-form players are breathing down the neck of experienced members in the squad.
The out of favor Newcastle United midfielder Jonjo Shelvey could possibly be one worthy addition to the Southgate’s squad with his first-rate passing and highly improved work-rate on the field. Shelvey’s crucial season started off miserably as his stay on the field ended at 48th minute following a stamp on Delle Alli. He was handed a three-game ban and his World Cup hopes started to fade as he struggled to cement his place in the Rafa Benitez’s line-up owing to his temperament issues.
However, the English midfielder’s performance has seen a drastic improvement in 2018 and more importantly he has managed to keep a cool head on the field which has significantly helped Newcastle United come out of the relegation zone. Newcastle United have been beaten only twice in 2018 and even those losses have come up against Liverpool and Manchester City. The Magpies have put on several impressive performances which resulted in massive wins against Manchester United and Arsenal recently. Without a doubt, Jonjo Shelvey has played a pivotal part in these matches with his impeccable vision and creativity.
One of the major strengths that places Shelvey above his contenders is his inch perfect long balls. Newcastle United have been hugely benefitted by his creativity in the midfield as the midfielder has successfully completely a massive 117 accurate long balls in the Premier League this season which is only two less than Kevin De Bruyne and Christian Eriksen. However, lack of tall and physically strong players in the Newcastle forward line has resulted in a poor conversion rate of Shelvey’s long balls as the forwards failed to keep hold of the ball and convert them into crucial goals.
With the presence of someone like Harry Kane who is 6’3” and knows where the goal is, Southgate could be tempted to play Jonjo Shelvey who can provide those precise long balls upfront. Harry Kane and Shelvey could form a lethal partnership in the England team which could terrorize the opponent defence.
Another major criticism that was put forward, was regarding Shelvey’s work-rate during the latter stages of the games. Frank Lampard publicly criticized the midfielder’s defensive efforts during the club’s 2-2 draw against Bournemouth and mentioned that it is about concentration and not the fitness. However, Benitez denied Lampard’s claims and backed his player by stating that “When we were talking about him, the idea was maybe that he couldn’t play. But he was pushing, he was desperate to play and credit to him because he did well. In another case, maybe another player would not be playing, but he decided to play, took the risk and it was quite positive.”
The recent games have seen an increased effort from the English midfielder defensively, who has won the ball quite a lot of times and initiated several quick counter attacks for his side. Jonjo Shelvey and Mo Diame have formed a rock-solid partnership in the midfield, falling back and pushing forward according to the situations.
Gareth Southgate is expected to be at the Goodison Park when Everton face Newcastle United and this game seems to be the perfect opportunity for Jonjo to impress his National coach and receive his deserved call-up. Will Shelvey continue to put on a powerful performance on his crucial day or will the pressure get better of him ? Let us wait and watch !