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‘Jonjo Shelvey can’t head, can’t tackle and keeps giving the ball away’ – Leighton James

6 years ago

Amusingly/ironically, Leighton James has had another go at undermining Jonjo Shelvey after another Newcastle game where the new signing was man of the match.

Leighton James is a former Welsh international who in his playing career appeared for both Sunderland and Swansea, which explains at least two reasons for his bitterness.

Though Newcastle fans loudly questioning his sexuality back in the seventies/eighties might not have helped either.

When Jonjo Shelvey headed north, James was instantly on the case – saying of course that Swansea were better off without him and it was a great selling price for the Welsh club.

Now the former Sunderland player has stated that Shelvey ‘…can’t head, can’t tackle and keeps giving the ball away’.

Maybe in time we as Newcastle fans might recognise he has these or other weaknesses in his game but so far, certainly in the two home games against West Ham and West Brom matches he has shown he is half decent at the odd thing…

Those two man of the match performances saw the new signing produce a range of passing that we had only seen from Yohan Cabaye in quite a few years.

Jonjo Shelvey got an assist with a superb through ball for Mitrovic on Saturday and against West Ham, his incisive passing opened up the Hammers defence for both goals.

Leighton James’ spur for action this time was the much quoted recent study that claimed through various statistics/measurements that Jonjo Shelvey was the best buy of the transfer window, actually undervalued by some £11.5m!

As to the truth of that…the way transfer prices are going and the way Newcastle have wasted similar amounts on Cabella and Thauvin, Shelvey is looking a bargain at £12m.

Even if those two wins already, end up saving Newcastle from relegation, Mike Ashley will see it as the best £12m he has ever spent.

Leighton James speaking to the South Wales Evening Post:

‘I nearly spat my coffee out after reading a story suggesting Jonjo Shelvey was worth £23.5 million and Newcastle had bagged a bargain in paying around half that for him.

Apparently, a team of academics reckon Newcastle did some of the transfer window’s best business by signing Shelvey for £12 million.

It seems the conclusion was based on analysing various statistics — and I’m not a great fan of their use in football either.

If the CIES Football Observatory had actually watched Shelvey play they would have seen a player who can’t head, can’t tackle and keeps giving the ball away.

That is the trouble with crunching numbers to reach conclusions about football, it just doesn’t work like that.

Assessing a player is a judgment made on how he performs on grass, not a graph.’


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