Can this Swansea Midfield Maestro take his performances to the next level for club and country?
Ex-Liverpool midfielder Jonjo Shelvey has become a key and popular player for Swansea since signing in July 2013. The promising youngster split opinion during his time at Anfield. His form fluctuated substantially, which led to Shelvey never becoming a first team regular. Swansea promised him a chance to enhance his career, develop and deliver on his promising status.
The fiery central midfielder has been deployed in a mostly defensive position, covering The Swans back four this season. He has made eleven appearances in this spot, and one in a slightly further forward role. As of now, this has resulted in a decrease in goals and assists as he sits on zero goals, and only one assist.
It’s a strange role to place the 23 year old in, given his ability going forward. He showed prowess here in the 2013/14 season at the Liberty Stadium, scoring six goals and assisting six more.
The Englishman is known for a skilful ability to play long passes and take long shots. This does give him an edge with positional flexibility. Yet for Shelvey to unlock his potential he should be given a similar role to ex-teammate Steven Gerrard and Manchester City’s Yaya Touré. He may not be near that level right now, but there is potential to be tapped in to in a box to box role.
Certainly, he is capable of taking his performance to the next level. Still only 23, he has a long career ahead, while already a first team regular for the respected Swans.
His temperament will have to change if this were to be the case. While it has improved since his famous touchline spat with Sir Alex Ferguson, the passionate player still picks up plenty of cards.
Last season, Shelvey stacked up eight yellow cards, and one red in thirty one appearances. This season he sits on four yellow cards in only twelve games. Should Shelvey pick up one more yellow card before the 31st of December – when the disciplinary slate will be wiped clean – he will be banned for one match.
Arguably, playing in a defensive role does invite more challenges and a higher risk of being carded. But London born Shelvey needs to improve in high pressure situations, should he wish to take performances to the next level for Swansea and England.
While Swansea’s current form has dipped recently, so has Shelvey’s ability to stand out and prove he is first team material for England manager Roy Hodgson. The midfielder has not had any real chances to prove himself for England, making small strides in the squad. He was recently an unused substitute in a two-nil victory over France. His place as a young gun in England’s midfield seems to have been usurped, first by the talents of Everton’s Ross Barkley, and then by the Tottenham pair of Eric Dier and Dele Alli. Whether Shelvey eventually finds his place as a defensive or attack minded midfielder, he will have his work cut out to break into the team.
Jonjo Shelvey does have the capabilities needed in order to take his performances to the next level. Should he take control of his emotions, keep up a high level of passing while contributing with goals and assists there is nothing to say he can’t be a catalyst in the England midfield.
Featured Image: All rights reserved by Chris Barnes
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