Both Graeme Souness and Jamie Carragher have today suggested that Newcastle United midfielder Jonjo Shelvey would be deserving a recall to the English senior squad, if he can keep his temper under control.
25-year-old midfielder Shelvey has long been regarded as something of a hothead, with his tendency to lash out whilst on the pitch having led many to ignore his abilities as a footballer.
Shelvey holds many of the characteristics of an all-round midfield player, with his eye for a defence-splitting pass, hammer of a strike, bite in the tackle and leadership qualities making him a near indispensable asset for Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez.
He has, to this point in his career, earned 6 caps for England’s senior team, with his impressive performance versus former club Liverpool at the weekend having led Sky Sports pundit Graeme Souness to suggest that the powerful midfielder could be of use to Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate.
Speaking on Sky following the Magpies 1-1 draw with Liverpool, Souness explained:
‘I’m going to say something daft but if he got his act together there would be a shout for him to get back into the England squad.’
‘There are lots of midfielders who are about possession but he wants to hurt you all the time [with a pass]. A modern midfield player gets away with murder these days because they are allowed to go sideways and the stats say they have kept the ball all day. He has an edge to him, which I love in a player.’
‘Sometimes he has more than an edge and he has to get that out of his game. At 25 he must have learned his lesson. There’s so much to like about him and he’s got so much to offer – he will stand up to someone, he has a pass, he has technique – but he has the exploding head he must control.’
Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher added:
‘He has got a mentality about him where he’s not scared.’
‘Sometimes Newcastle is too big for someone and at Liverpool you can say the same. But when he played for Liverpool he wasn’t scared to try things. He doesn’t get daunted by the size of the club. He has moments [of madness] – there have been plenty including for Liverpool.’
‘You look at the squad England have with the injuries at the moment and they have workmanlike midfield players. There’s very few who see the pass.’
‘Normally those players we want to play a No 10 and the deeper ones are very safe. He is someone who can play passes from deeper positions. That pass today (his defence-splitting ball for Joselu’s equaliser) was the best pass of the weekend.’