Journeying back to the middle of last season, Jonjo Shelvey arrived at Newcastle for a very large fee, on very big wages with a good reputation. He showed his quality on debut but after that it was nothing short of a struggle for the England international.
To be honest, Shelvey seemed to have a lack of mobility, he seemed to rely too much on the occasional long-range ‘Hollywood’ pass and seemed to be overly aggressive in challenges where he had little chance of winning the ball.
Pre-season came about, Cheick Tiote and Henri Saivet were to be deemed surplus to requirements and Vurnon Anita moved to full-back, leaving Newcastle short on midfield options. Isaac Hayden joined from Arsenal and with that signing, began the rejuvenation of Jonjo Shelvey.
Hayden seems to complement Shelvey in every way. Hayden is mobile, he keeps his game simple and tackles cleanly, the polar opposite to Jonjo Shelvey in his first season. Hayden looks a more comfortable player than Jack Colback, who played a similar role in Shelvey’s impressive debut.
That kind of player allows Jonjo Shelvey to play his game, express himself and display his impressive passing ability. Shelvey also now looks more mobile, as he no longer needs to chase all over the pitch, he can use his footballing brain and press when needed.
This also means that he no longer needs to dive into reckless challenges.
In the transfer market, Newcastle added recruitments for every single role in the side, apart from one. That is the role of Jonjo Shelvey, perhaps this is because it is hard to convince a player with such quality on the ball to come down to this level as a rotation option.
Mo Diame could play this position but only against lesser sides, due to a lack of tactical discipline and work rate. Diame is more of a luxury player, with obvious quality, a great touch and is capable of amazing things, but he likes to go forward.
If Shelvey is to get injured or suspended, the latter still being more likely, then the squad depth at the club should enable the manager to set up to play a different way, which he is now equipped to do.
It is great to have the option to change tactics and formation, plus even better to have a manager that everyone trusts to do so. So If Jonjo Shelvey is ever out, he will be replaced using the tactical knowledge of a world class manager.
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