Jonjo Shelvey bossed the Championship for much of last season.
Ian Holloway even called him the best to have ever played in that second tier.
As an established Premier League player and also an England international, on a reported eighty grand a week, many people would say that at the very least, Jonjo Shelvey should have been able to bully (with his football…) your typical Championship opponents.
Stepping back into the Premier League, much was expected of the midfielder, he was even given the Captain’s armband for the opening game against Tottenham. That didn’t end well.
An anonymous first-half performance was then followed shortly after the break with a selfish and deliberate petulant stand (not stamp!) on Dele Alli’s fingers, a red card and any chance of points thrown away.
Rafa Benitez wasn’t impressed, Jonjo Shelvey had to wait seven weeks to get another Premier League start.
Against former club Liverpool he showed a few moments of quality, including the through ball that eventually led to Newcastle’s equaliser, Lovren kicking the ball off the dithering Joselu and it rolling into the corner to Mignolet’s bemusement.
Apart from that through ball that helped earn a point against the scousers, I struggle to think of any/many significant contribution.
Shelvey has only featured in two PL wins when he has started, the fortunate victory over Palace with sub Merino’s late winner, then the New Year’s day win at Stoke, probably Shelvey’s best performance of the season.
In his latest interview, Jonjo Shelvey has now said ‘The penny has sort of dropped with me’ when referring the disciplinary side of things.
Whilst with the football side of things he admits: ‘I’ve just always tried to rely on my ability…but you realise that the way football is going, you have to add other elements to your game to get to where you need to be.’
Realising and actually doing something about it, aren’t necessarily the same thing, and we wait to see if Shelvey isn’t just talking a good game once again.
Fair to say that in a squad with little real quality, most fans expected him to be an automatic choice this season for Rafa.
However, with only 12 games left, Jonjo Shelvey has zero goals or assists (full breakdown below) in the Premier League but two red cards, the other one also a stupid selfish one, against Everton.
Up against nine of the top 11 in these remaining 12 games, Newcastle need better from the squad (only two point from 39 in the previous 13 matches against clubs in the current top 11) and certainly better from Shelvey.
Can he deliver on the pitch as well as in an interview?
Jonjo Shelvey speaking to the official Newcastle programme (v Man Utd):
“The penny has sort of dropped now with me.
“I know what’s right and wrong, on and off the pitch, and I know what you can and can’t do.
“I’m just trying to stick by that every day.
“It has probably taken a lot longer than what it should do to sink in but I feel like I’m at that stage now.
“I’ve just always tried to rely on my ability.
“I’ve always been able to technically play football and understand the game, and I probably thought that would always see me through.
“But you realise that the way football is going, you have to add other elements to your game to get to where you need to be.”
Newcastle players with Premier League goals and assists 2017/18:
5 Joselu (4 goals, 1 assist)
5 Matt Ritchie (5 assists)
4 Dwight Gayle (3 goals, 1 assist)
4 Christian Atsu (2 goals, 2 assists)
4 Ayoze Perez (2 goals, 2 assists)
3 Jamaal Lascelles (3 goals)
3 Ciaran Clark (2 goals, 1 assist)
2 Mikel Merino (1 goal, 1 assist)
2 Mohamed Diame (2 goals)
2 Jacob Murphy (1 goal, 1 assist)
1 Isaac Hayden (1 goal)
1 Kenedy (1 assist)
1 Aleksandar Mitrovic (1 goal)
1 Henri Saivet (1 goal)
1 DeAndre Yedlin (1 assist)