By Richard Parks
Jonjo Shelvey is “untrustworthy” and “unlikeable” but his ability marks him out as a special player, according to Garth Crooks.
The former Tottenham striker and BBC pundit has named Shelvey in his team of the week following his latest masterclass in Newcastle United’s weekend 2-1 win against Leicester City.
The England international, 26, scored his second goal of the season as the Magpies secured their third consecutive win to give their Premier League survival hopes a massive boost.
“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,” Crooks said in his BBC Sport column. “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.”
Football Insider verdict:
Shelvey is certainly a player with unique skills. His passing range can be matched by few players in the Premier League and he has the ability to dictate the tempo of a match, even for a club that does not always dominate possession and plays in a cautious style. Crooks is correct in stating that his hair-trigger temper is a major issue, and one that draws attention away from the positive elements of his game. There is a sense with Shelvey that you get what you get, and Benitez appears to have concluded that he just have to live with the less palatable elements of his game.
In other Newcastle United transfer news, West Ham have tabled a staggering bid for one of Rafael Benitez’s favourite players.