Garth Crooks has picked his Premier League team of the week.
The BBC Sport pundit including one Newcastle star after they deservedly beat Leicester 2-1 at the King Power Stadium on Saturday.
It was Jonjo Shelvey who Garth Crooks selected for his Premier League team of the week, little surprise after yet another excellent performance as he pulled the strings in midfield.
However, he accompanied the selection with some quite bizarre comments…’I have to be honest, I don’t enjoy putting players like him in my team. I like footballers and there has been far too much over-physicality where Shelvey has been concerned.’
Garth Crooks rounds things off by declaring – ‘He just can’t be trusted right now.’
So what justification does Crooks give for his comments?
Well, mmm, none actually.
These are the cards Jonjo Shelvey has picked up in the Premier League this season:
13 August 2017 – Newcastle 0 Spurs 2 (Red)
4 November 2017 Newcastle 0 Bournemouth 1 (Yellow)
25 November 2017 – Newcastle 0 Watford 3 (Yellow)
13 December 2017 – Newcastle 0 Everton 1 (2 x Yellow = Red)
When Newcastle next play against Arsenal on Sunday, it will be 123 days since Jonjo Shelvey last picked up a card. How many central midfielders can say the same? I would guess very very few, as it is a position where you are constantly having to make challenges.
So five cards all season in the league, the same as Harry Kane and one less than Dele Alli, two players in forward positions who should never be picking up so many in their roles.
Shelvey has had two moments of gross stupidity earlier this season, petulantly standing on Alli’s fingers when the Spurs player obstructed him getting the ball to take a quick free-kick – and the second needless yellow against Everton in the final seconds.
However, it is obvious that over four months later, and no further cards, he is playing in a completely different, more constructive way, and has been doing for a considerable amount of time.
The thing is as well, Jonjo Shelvey seems to have been given a bad name based on very little in his past.
Before this season, he had only ever been sent off once (last season his one v Forest was later rescinded, along with Paul Dummett’s), six years ago in the highly charged Liverpool v Man Utd match.
Fair enough, criticise Shelvey for what he has actually done, but don’t make grand statements that have absolutely no truth in them.
Garth Crooks talking to BBC Sport:
“This was an amazing victory against the 2016 champions by Newcastle and why I had no choice but to include Jonjo Shelvey in my team of the week.
“I have to be honest, I don’t enjoy putting players like him in my team.
“I like footballers and there has been far too much over-physicality where Shelvey has been concerned.
“However, his performances of late have been impressive.
“With greater levels of fitness and a more reliable temperament, Magpies boss Rafa Benitez could turn him into a top-class player.
“Certainly England have no-one with his ability in midfield – he just can’t be trusted right now.
“Did you know?
“Shelvey scored with his only shot against Leicester and also made more passes than any other Newcastle player (34).”
The full Garth Crooks Premier League team of the week for BBC Sport:
Joe Hart (West Ham)
Seamus Coleman (Everton)
Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea)
Chris Smalling (Man Utd)
Ashley Young (Man Utd)
Luka Milivojevic (Crystal Palace)
Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle)
Paul Pogba (Man Utd)
Christian Eriksen (Tottenham)
Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace)
Marko Arnautovic (West Ham)
Stats from BBC Sport:
Leicester 1 Newcastle 2
Newcastle: Shelvey 18, Perez 75
Leicester: Vardy 83
Possession was Leicester 66% Newcastle 34%
Total shots were Leicester 8 Newcastle 8
Shots on target were Leicester 1 Newcastle 4
Corners were Leicester 7 Newcastle 5
Referee: Stuart Attwell
Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles, Lejeune, Dummett, Ritchie, Shelvey, Diame (Hayden 81), Shelvey, Kenedy (Atsu 64), Gayle (Joselu 70)
Darlow, Manquillo, Clark, Merino
Crowd: 32,066 (3,200 Newcastle)
(Read the Match Report HERE)
(Read Alan Shearer’s reaction to the result HERE)
(Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to the 2-1 victory HERE)
(Leicester boss Claude Puel reacts to the defeat HERE)
(Rafa Benitez verdict after picking up yet another three points – Read HERE)
(3 positives and 3 negatives from Leicester 1 Newcastle 2 – Read HERE)
(Match ratings of all Newcastle players after the match HERE)