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Opinion

Can’t quite believe what Jonjo Shelvey has said following Saturday

3 weeks ago
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Jonjo Shelvey made only his second Premier League start on Saturday.

Having been in the starting eleven for the opening day defeat to West Ham at St James Park, Brighton away saw the midfielder back in the side for the first time in three months.

Having come back from injury, Jonjo Shelvey did make an appearance off the bench against Tottenham, only to find himself sent off after only 23 minutes on the pitch for two ridiculous yellow cards. The second of those when senselessly bringing down a Spurs player with a ‘professional’ foul when United were trailing 3-1 with only seven minutes to go.

The 29 year old then got nine minutes as a sub against Chelsea, before Graeme Jones gave him his chance against Brighton on Saturday, with the soon to be appointed new manager Eddie Howe watching on from the stands.

I have to admit to not being Shelvey’s biggest fan BUT I actually for once did agree with his selection on Saturday, as I thought surely he will be absolutely motivated with Howe watching on, busting a gut to impress the new manager that he deserves his chance in this new ambitious era that the club are hopefully moving into.

How wrong can you be?

Instead, I thought he was somehow even more lazy than normal, which is saying something!

Jonjo Shelvey doing his usual of hanging around so deep, right next to the (three!) central defenders, getting five yard balls off them and passing it around the back, interspersed with the odd hopeful (hopeless!) Hollywood 60 / 70 / 80 yard pass that was never going to achieve anything.

Rather than taking responsibility and actually RUNNING with the ball, passing and moving, working the ball up the pitch…just the usual that we have become so used to. No desire or commitment to try and make something happen. His set-piece delivery woeful as well, time after time.

Shelvey’s performance ‘peaking’ when after Sanchez was sent off, Jonjo Shelvey had a great late chance to fire the ball into a dangerous area from around 35 yards out, to test defender Lewis Dunk who was the emergency keeper. Normally Jonjo Shelvey (one PL goal in the last 16 months) will shoot (stupidly!) from anywhere but instead of sending the ball in with power on a trajectory towards the stand in keeper, hoping somebody could get on the end of it and/or test Dunk in some way, he instead just lofted a high waste of time cross to the very far side of the penalty area that was never going to trouble anybody.

So, taking all the above into consideration…I honest can’t quite believe what Jonjo Shelvey has said following Saturday at the Amex Stadium. Well, having said that, I can believe it, because we have heard similar before, what Jonjo Shelvey thinks / claims he has produced on the pitch, is very different to what the rest of us see.

Jonjo Shelvey claiming: ‘Everyone wanted the ball…We actually got on the ball and made things happen’, what game was he watching (quite literally!)?

The midfielder believing that he was: ‘…getting on the ball and making us tick, and I think I did that to a reasonable level.’

Honestly, standards dropped so low under Steve Bruce, that for Jonjo Shelvey and others, what became ‘reasonable’ was far from…reasonable, or acceptable.

According to Jonjo Shelvey, Saturday was a ‘good performance’ and Newcastle ‘should have won the game’…

Newcastle were a little bit better after the break but considering how shocking the first half had been, it would have been near impossible not to improve. So little attacking threat yet again and only one effort on target, which was Hayden’s equaliser. Shelvey supposed to be the playmaker and making Newcastle ‘tick’, helping to ensure Wilson gets service and United carry an attacking threat overall. The reality of course is failing on all those fronts.

I wonder what the likes of Joe Willock was thinking as he watched the entire Jonjo Shelvey performance from the bench?

I look forward to Eddie Howe finding a system to suit the likes of Joe Willock and others who have been let down by Steve Bruce and indeed Graeme Jones to an extent, though he has had only the three games in charge.

As for Jonjo Shelvey, I hope Eddie Howe has seen more than enough on Saturday…

Jonjo Shelvey speaking to the official club site and reflecting on the Brighton match:

“We tried to play football tonight, which we haven’t done in recent weeks.

“Everyone wanted the ball, which was a pleasure to see.

“We actually got on the ball and made things happen and that’s the way I feel we need to play, because you can’t just defend for 90 minutes in this league – you’re going to get punished eventually.

“(Being able to play the same way regularly) is going to take time and it’s going to take a lot of practice on the training pitch, but we’ll get back to work next week and work on it.

“In the second half, we were the better team, and we should have won the game, really.

“Brighton are a fantastic team, to be fair – they pass the ball very well and they get in behind your lines, but I thought we defended very well. The goal they scored was a penalty, which was a tough one to take at the time.

“All in all I thought it was a good performance.

“We battled and showed spirit and we showed a lot of character.

“It’s a point, and we’ve had a couple of defeats recently. We’re still vying for that first win, but we’ll get there.

“I thought I did reasonably well.

“It’s obviously different to playing Under-23s’ football, though I needed to go and get the game-time there because I’ve not played since the opening day.

“I just enjoyed being back out there – the crowd, getting on the ball and making us tick, and I think I did that to a reasonable level today.”

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