Having spent my afternoon watching 92 mins of yet another abysmal NUFC performance against Spurs today I like many were shocked to leave with a point, not sure I’ve seen a team successfully rob someone this well since Oceans 11! The game itself was another grim Bruce masterclass when many bar Darlow were poor but nobody disappointed me more than Jonjo Shelvey.

 

Now as a huge fan of this lad it breaks my heart to be writing this but how many times have we all said the words “Yeah but on his day he’s class isn’t he?” have we ever stopped to count how many days there have actually been during his time at the club? Listen, there’s no doubting Jonjo’s ability as a footballer! Nobody at our club can do what he does and few midfielders in the division can spray balls around the pitch like him but… Can he be bothered to put in a shift?

This is a player who Liverpool once signed as the heir apparent to Steven Gerrard one of the best midfielders of his generation, and you can see why! Jonjo has that raking passing range and especially in his early career that bit of needle Gerrard possessed too, but Jonjo lacks one key factor that the likes of Gerrard & Lampard had on top of the talent…work ethic! I firmly believe that’s why it didn’t work out for him at Liverpool. So after that he went to Swansea & for a time looked the part and even gained England recognition but started to go missing when he was needed and  the Swans were sliding towards the bottom of the table and both Jonjo and Swansea were ready to part company so he joined us, sadly for Jonjo we too we were sliding quicker than Swansea were it would later turn out.

 

Of course I have to give credit to Jonjo for sticking with us and getting us back up, but even in the championship he looked like he was coasting didn’t he? I mean he should’ve looked like prime Gerrard Xavi & iniesta rolled into one in that league right? I put it down to the fact he was just too good for that division so didn’t think too much of it. So that brings us to now & despite 6 goals last season the lazy sloth like Shelvey has firmly returned to the fold and we as a club have to ask ourselves that despite him being the undisputed passmaster of Newcastle  if we can afford to carry this passenger of a player any longer?

 

The bigger picture here of keeping Jonjo around for say the next 4-6 years is this, how much more are we going to get out of this player? Yes he shows up for say 6 or 7 games a season (usually 2 against West Ham) but can we count on him when we need to dig in? When we need to fight for a result? I’ve heard the argument before of “Well it’s coz he hasn’t got quality players around him to pick up his passes” but with ASM Miggy now Wilson & Fraser he has right? yes granted its only 3 games in but I’m yet to see that make a difference. If it wasn’t for the tireless efforts of the perpetual workhorse that is Issac Hayden next to him his laziness would be even more obvious to even the most hardened of Shelvey supporters!

The second issue of keeping Shelvey around and a constant in the side is that I believe it will halt the progress of both Longstaffs who we have to think will only get better and give more than they are currently where as you can’t make that claim towards Shelvey. Sean’s got to try and get back to where he was under Rafa & Matty needs to get fit and try and find his position in that midfield hopefully as an attacking central mid which we lack massively. The other argument is do we sign a new midfielder with ability and the work ethic? Or have we already in Hendrick? Why not give him a chance next to Hayden and see if he offers more on the middle of the park as opposed to jogging around half speed not trying to make any challenges then trying 70 yard passes every other 5 mins so you still get on to the highlight reel on match of the day.

 

To summarise, I love this player! but he is not consistent enough and we as a club can’t afford to carry any passengers. There’s a reason Rafa didn’t want to keep him right?  I believe had the great man have stayed Jonjo would more than likely be in West Ham colours right now. There’s also a reason he hasn’t found his way back on to the radar of “Top clubs” looking at him a bit like Zaha did when his time at Utd ended with a whimper, and that reason is he doesn’t have the hunger. If Jonjo Shelvey was willing to work harder he’d be one of the best midfielders in the modern game but he simply can’t be arsed. I think it may be time for us as a club to look to the future and look to move Jonjo on and replace him with someone who’ll give us a 7/10 for say 15-20 games a season as opposed to 8/10 7 games a season provided by the enigma that is Jonjo Shelvey.

 

Chris Currie