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‘I would have Jonjo Shelvey in midfield instead of Isaac Hayden, every day of the week’

5 months ago
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A recent contribution on The Mag was entitled “No wonder we lost to Chelsea when we were playing with 10 men,” in which it lambasted Jonjo Shelvey.

Then incredibly – for me – suggested that Isaac Hayden be made skipper.

I have been complaining all season that we’ve been playing with 10 men (nine if you include Joelinton, eight if Hendrick is also in the team) and advocating that replacement of any of them by literally any other player(s) in the first team squad would be an improvement.

I am the first to admit that Jonjo Shelvey is inconsistent and that, when he has an off day, he’s infuriating.

He’s also easier to spot having an off day because, unlike Isaac Hayden, he actually gets involved. He tries to pass the ball FORWARD, not always with the accuracy he is sometimes capable of, let’s not forget as well he was last season’s TOP SCORER in the Premier League for Newcastle United.

I’m not saying Shelvey’s a world-beater but he definitely offers more to the team than Isaac Hayden does.

In Hayden’s defence he’s had his only half-decent games just there, in defence.

In midfield, like Hendrick, he marks space; doesn’t press enough; never tracks an opponent fully and properly; and racks up the kilometres, for the most part, without any purpose whatsoever.

I’ve watched some games when he appears to be marking the referee.

I recently read an article by Supermac in which he compared Hendrick (and I would include Hayden) with Geoff Nulty – a great favourite of Gordon Lee.

He recalled a game when we beat Liverpool 4-1 (I know – I’m not trying to rub it in) and he watched Nulty for the whole game in an effort to identify why Lee was always so effusive in his praise for him.

He observed that Nulty ran around energetically for the whole 90 minutes and touched the ball FOUR TIMES!

I don’t know what Matt Ritchie has done to be out in the cold for so long, or what the Longstaffs and Anderson must think, when an unproven 21-year-old mid-table Premier League reserve is brought in over their heads.

We have got a serious battle on our hands to accumulate the required points and, without Wilson – who has been an absolute revelation and unbelievably better than I expected – I worry that our fate may be decided in the last two games.

If that turns out to be the case, I would have Jonjo Shelvey in midfield instead of Isaac Hayden, every day of the week.

HWTL

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