When news broke that Newcastle United midfielder Jonjo Shelvey could be in line for an England recall, fans around the country reacted in a variety of ways, both of joy and dread, that the former Liverpool man could be on the plane to Russia.
The Times say that his form, combined with fitness concerns over Jack Wilshere and Adam Lallana, have put him in the frame, and England boss Gareth Southgate is set watch as his Magpies team face Everton on Monday.
The 26-year-old has been key to Rafa Benitez’s side this season as they have re-established themselves back in the top flight of English football.
Shelvey has already got six England caps to his name, the most recent coming in November 2015 against France, and he could now earn a return two and a half years later.
His sparkling form has caught the eye as all three goals he has been involved with this season (one goal and two assists) have come in his last four appearances.
Here’s how Twitter reacted to the news…
Many believed it was about time…
I’m no fan of England so I don’t really give a fuck but Jonjo Shelvey should be going to Russia.
— Liam (@Liam_Reay83) April 15, 2018
Their fitness shouldn’t matter in my eyes. He’s been head and shoulders above both in terms of form all season.
— KieranHarm (@KAH_NUFC) April 18, 2018
No player in the England setup can pass forward, with both feet, like Jonjo Shelvey. His game intelligence and discipline has drastically improved this season and Southgate must consider him for Russia. Some quarterback. #NEWARS
— Will Holderness (@WillHolderness) April 15, 2018
It shouldn’t be a surprise inclusion he’s more than earned it this season. 1 daft red card in the first game but 1 yellow since xmas and he’s been instrumental in Newcastle’s revival. How the likes of Livermore and an unfit Wilshere are ahead of him is mind boggling.
— Nathan Nicholson (@JnathanN) April 18, 2018
Shelvey really looks settled at Newcastle under Rafa. He definitely deserves a chance with England. England don’t really have many midfielders who can ping balls like he can consistently.
— Levi (@TheAlonsoRole) April 15, 2018
Plenty made comparisons to the alternatives, with two in particular coming up a few times…
Shelvey deserves a chance for England .. certainly more than Wilshere does ATM
— AceMcPlayboy (@boxing_addict80) April 15, 2018
Rather Shelvey for the deeper role spreading passes than Wilshere
— ‘ (@False11Firmino) April 17, 2018
Livermore plays for England over Shelvey. That really has to be the most absurd thing in football. #NUFC
— Deepak Venugopalan (@Deepak_Toon) April 15, 2018
If Jonjo Shelvey isn't in the England squad this summer but Jake Livermore is, Gareth Southgate really is absolutely clueless #NEWARS
— Aaron Walker (@Gallagherlad95) April 15, 2018
List of people Shelvey and Lascelles deserve to be on the plane ahead of …
— ????ROBO NUFC???? (@RoboNUFC) April 17, 2018
He’s made some eat their words…
Really hope Shelvey knuckles down for the rest of the season with no injuries and gets himself into tbag England squad, don’t wanna say it but he’s proved me wrong?????
— danmad (@danielmaddison5) April 15, 2018
Yet not all agreed…
Jonjo Shelvey wouldn’t get a game for Scotland never mind England. The guy is pony! ?
— AS (@iamsmythy) April 16, 2018
— Colin Hall? (@Ultra_Fox) April 15, 2018
After three years in the international wilderness, Jonjo Shelvey will need to maintain his current form if he is to enter into the fight to earn himself a ticket on the plane to Russia as a surprise inclusion in Gareth Southgate’s squad to face Belgium, Panama and Tunisia in World Cup Group G.
Three England youngsters who will be part of Gareth Southgate’s next generation
The 2018 World Cup in Russia has been widely acclaimed as being one of the most exciting and enjoyable tournaments in recent memory.
Whilst France were ultimately crowned as world champions, the entire competition was filled with goals, drama and tension that took football supporters across the globe through the full range of emotions.
It was the complete spectacle and you were drawn into the tournament regardless of whether you were in the stadium, watching on TV or listening via the radio.
England exceeded everyone’s expectations as they reached the semi-finals and it is difficult to remember when the country last united so powerfully behind the national side.
Gareth Southgate will quite rightly receive much of the plaudits for his team’s performances, yet he is already likely to be thinking about how to mould a squad capable of going one better at Euro 2020.
Here, The Boot Room highlights three young players that will be a key part of England’s next generation.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – Liverpool
The 19-year-old started the season as nothing more than a promising prospect that sat on the periphery of the first-team picture at Liverpool, yet he ended the campaign as the first-choice right-back at Anfield and playing in the Champions League final.
His performances were so impressive that Gareth Southgate named him in his England squad that contested the World Cup this summer despite his relative inexperience.
There are few players that have undergone such a dramatic rise in their career trajectory in such a small period of time and it is safe to say that Trent Alexander-Arnold will continue to develop and improve over the forthcoming years.
He will undoubtedly become a central feature at both club and international level and he is an extremely exciting prospect.
Naturally athletic and technically efficient, he possesses all of the attributes required to become an elite modern full-back. However, it is his positivity that makes him stand out.
The 19-year-old has never looked daunted and his first instinct when he receives the ball is to find a forward pass, drive into the opposition’s half or whip a cross into the box.
He already has two senior England caps to his name and if he continues to maintain this rate of progress then he represents the long-term future for club and country.
Phil Foden – Manchester City
When England won the under-17s World Cup final in India last year it signaled a breakout moment for many of the young stars included within the squad.
Phil Foden was widely perceived to be the standout performer at the tournament and was subsequently awarded the FIFA under-17 World Cup Golden Ball in acknowledgment of his outstanding displays.
He received widespread attention from the media over the ensuing months and he has continued to make rapid progress since, making him one of the most highly anticipated prospects in English football.
The dynamic central midfielder joined Manchester City at the age of eight and he quickly rose through the academy ranks and into the first team picture at the Etihad Stadium.
Pep Guardiola was so impressed by Foden’s development that he handed him a competitive debut in November 2017 as a substitute against Feyenoord in the Champions League and has made a scattering of appearances since.
In the process, Foden became the youngest English player to start a Champions League match (at 17 years and 192 days) and the youngest player ever to receive a Premier League winners medal.
Despite still only being 18 years of age, both Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola and England boss Gareth Southgate are expecting big things from the central midfielder in the near future.
It will be intriguing to see if he can maintain his current rate of development and force his way into contention for a more prominent role for club and country.
Ryan Sessegnon – Fulham
Fulham youngster Ryan Sessengnon may only be 18 years of age but he has already made a significant impact that has resulted in him becoming one of the most talked about talents in English football.
He was the outstanding performer in the Championship last season where his 16 goals helped The Cottagers to secure promotion to the Premier League.
His contribution was recognised at the end of the campaign when he won an unprecedented five awards including Championship Player of the Season and Young Player of the Season in addition to becoming the first player from the second tier to be nominated for the PFA Young Player of the Year Award.
Sessengnon is an exceptional talent that combines pace, power and strength with technical ability, creativity and intelligence.
He is capable of playing anywhere along the left side of the pitch, being equally comfortable when deployed as a full-back, winger or forward, with his versatility making him a unique prospect.
The 18-year-old has already made over 80 appearances at club level and it will be interesting to see whether he can maintain his current high level of performance when the Premier League season kicks off.
If he continues where he left off last season for Fulham then he will quickly find himself fast-tracked into the senior England squad.
Three Arsenal youngsters who could help England bring football home in 2022
The Gunners’ academy continues to develop some of the very best youngsters.
After a successful tournament got the nation dreaming, England fell at the penultimate at the World Cup and may require Arsenal‘s help in 2022.
Gareth Southgate’s youthful squad exceeded pre-tournament expectations and suddenly Greg Dyke’s objectives for the 2022 World Cup seem within grasp – and the Three Lions now have four years to build towards glory in Qatar.
Come November 2022, when FIFA has confirmed the World Cup will commence, Southgate is likely to call upon a number of the players who starred for the Three Lions in Russia but changes to his squad are also inevitable.
“The two targets I have for the England team are – one, to at least reach the semi-finals of Euro 2020 and two, win the World Cup in 2022.”
Fortunately, English football is breaming with exciting young talent at the moment and Arsenal may hold the key to success with three of their most highly-rated prospects.
Bursting onto the scene in November 2017, Eddie Nketiah became an instant hit at the Emirates Stadium after netting twice against Norwich City in the Carabao Cup. Since then, the 19-year-old forward has gone on to make three Premier League appearances.
Competition for places at Arsenal is fierce, particularly following the captures of Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the past 12 months, which means he may have to be patient to get his chance – but the situation is entirely different on the international stage.
In four England U21 appearances, Nketiah has scored two goals, per TransferMarkt stats, following on from eight goals in eight games at U18 level and four goals in two games for the U17 side. In just over a year, Nketiah rose to Aidy Boothroyd’s U21 ranks from the U17’s and shows no signs of stopping his rise.
Becoming a regular for Arsenal in Arsene Wenger’s final season at the Emirates Stadium, Ainsley Maitland-Niles showed his versatility by catching the eye playing as a full-back. His natural position is in midfield though and this is where he could be of value to England.
It is fair to say that England’s options in the middle of the park sitting in front of the defence are extremely limited, with neither Jordan Henderson or Eric Dier doing enough to cement their spot in the position for the long-term.
Maitland-Niles could become the man England are looking for in the coming years and further first-team experience with Arsenal looks set to follow under Unai Emery, as the 20-year-old penned a new long-term deal with the Gunners last month.
Arsenal fans have been excited about 18-year-old Reiss Nelson for a while now and saw the teenager break into the fringes of the first-team last term, as Whoscored data shows he finished the campaign with 15 appearances across all competitions.
Eight of those opportunities came as a starter, including two in the Premier League, and there is every chance Nelson could earn further action under the guidance of Unai Emery next term – especially as Alex Iwobi has not done enough to warrant continued action.
Should the Nigeria international continue to suffer with poor form, the eight-cap England U19 international could be Arsenal’s breakthrough star of the year – following in the footsteps of players like Maitland-Niles, Jack Wilshere and Hector Bellerin.
Who will bring football home? England’s predicted World Cup 2022 squad
Players from Everton, Liverpool, Tottenham, Manchester United and even Bristol City feature.
England were desperately close to making it into the World Cup final, after defeat to Croatia in the semi-finals.
The Three Lions did however bring back some pride and promise from the long-suffering England fans.
With England also the World Under-17 and Under-20 Champions, the future is brighter than ever.
So who will be at the World Cup in 2022?
It seems impossible to guess four years in advance. Not many would have suggested the likes of Jordan Pickford, Harry Maguire or Jesse Lingard four years ago.
The squad, hopefully, will not change much and the experienced players in the squad will likely still be around.
However, for the sake of the article and debate, anyone who will be over 30 in 2022 has been ignored. That leaves Kyle Walker, Danny Rose, Kieran Trippier, Gary Cahill, Phil Jones, Ashley Young, Jordan Henderson, Fabian Delph, Jamie Vardy and Danny Welbeck in the cold, even if some of them will likely be present.
Eric Dier also got nudged out, as his form recently has been a concern and Nick Pope has been replaced.
So who makes the XI and the overall squad of 23?
The Everton stopper cemented his place as England’s new number one during the quarter-final triumph over Sweden. Highly-rated by club and country and with excellent distribution it will be no surprise if he remains England’s first-choice in 2022.
What a deputy. The Stoke City goalkeeper could easily be our number one. The Potters relegation will hopefully not set him back and he should push Pickford for years to come.
The son of a Scotland international has so far rejected their international calls. Recently joined Southampton for £13.5 million and will hope to cement his place as a Premier League regular.
Honourable mentions: Nick Pope, Freddie Woodman, Dean Henderson.
Despite one lapse of concentration which cost England crucially against Croatia the Manchester City man was excellent in Russia.
If he maintains a starting place at City and his career is not derailed, then Stones will be one of the leaders in Qatar.
Became a national hero this summer. A swashbuckling defender with an eye for a goal and a great meme. Should be a multi-cap England international.
Replacing Kyle Walker as the pace-man in a back three is Liverpool’s Gomez. If he can combat his recent injury troubles he will be a certain future England player. Remember how he shackled Neymar back in November.
For many people, the Newcastle captain should have been in Russia ahead of Phil Jones or Gary Cahill.
Rightly so. A brilliant leader who would slot into a back three perfectly and deserves to be in the England fold for the next four years.
The Middlesbrough defender is one inclusion that may cause derision. But this lad is extremely talented.
A reliable defender, good with the ball at his feet and a favourite at St George’s Park. Fry will hope to emerge as an England hopeful in the years to come.
Honourable mentions: Eric Dier, Alfie Mawson, Michael Keane, Ben Wilmot.
Already in the England picture and shone v Belgium. Will likely play in the ¾ play-off this weekend. In four years he might be playing in the final.
A tough call this but the Everton defender is like the Kieran Trippier to Alexander-Arnold’s Walker-like characteristics.
Whilst the Liverpool man has the pace and the power Kenny is more deliberate and his crossing is fantastic.
A favourite with the England youth management and the eventual successor to Seamus Coleman at Goodison Park.
Honourable mentions: Kyle Walker-Peters, Dujon Sterling, Steven Sessegnon.
A shoe-in for 2022 if he remains fit and healthy. The Fulham star is perhaps England’s most exciting prospect.
He might even be considered an attacker by 2022 but for now, he would be an excellent left wing-back and will hopefully make his England bow this season.
This might be the biggest swing and potential miss in the squad. The Bristol City star is wanted by a host of clubs this summer after his fantastic form at Ashton Gate.
But he is a hard-working and super-fit young man who, given the right opportunities, is easily capable of playing for his nation.
Honourable mentions: Lewis Gibson, Luke Shaw, Ben Chilwell
Absolutely adored by the England camp the Bournemouth man has already made his England debut. More positive in his passing than Jordan Henderson and more dynamic than Eric Dier, he is surely the future of England’s composed holding role.
Set for a big break at Tottenham this season he has the potential to be an England star. If he can overcome his current injury trouble he would seem like being a shoe-in for 2022.
England lacked a midfielder who could pick the locks of the Croatia defence in the semi-finals. This is the young man to do just that. The Manchester City youngster needs to break into the first-team fold but given what he has already achieved that should not be a problem.
A lot depends on his next move, as Chelsea does not seem to be the right place for RLC to develop.
Showed in all his England performances that he is a talent to keep an eye on for the future and England will surely nurture him.
May not have set the world alight in Russia, but the Tottenham star’s talent cannot be overlooked.
If he can get to the level he is capable of, then Alli is a 100-cap man with ease.
Can he continue to prove people wrong for another four years?
Excellent at the World Cup and been in fine form for Manchester United. If he continues to progress in this way, then he should still be in the England set-up four years from now.
A tough choice considering the wealth of attacking midfield talent but the Leicester newbie seems the most likely to reach the levels necessary to play at a World Cup.
The £24 million talent can play a number of positions and is a special talent the Premier League will enjoy watching next term.
Honourable mentions: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Nathaniel Chalobah, Ross Barkley, Jack Grealish, Kieran Dowell,
He divided opinion among some at this summer’s World Cup. But under the guidance of Pep Guardiola he will continue to improve.
Whether out wide or through the middle, England will surely stick by the attacker.
The nation’s current captain and front-runner for the Golden Boot award at this summer’s tournament it is hard to see how he won’t lead the line again in four years time.
If he keeps going at his current rate, Kane will surely take Wayne Rooney’s goal-scoring record for England.
Some felt the Everton attacker was unlucky not to go this summer. After thriving on loan at RB Leipzig it seemed he might make a late lunge.
This summer is big for Lookman. He needs to decide where is best to carry on his career which could be key to a future England career.
The Manchester United talent can surely only get better. If he can become a regular starter, wherever he happens to play his club football then the teenager will hope to secure a place in Qatar.
Honourable mentions: Dominic Solanke, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Eddie Nketiah.
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