Former Arsenal striker Ian Wright has been left raving over the talents of Newcastle United midfielder Jonjo Shelvey and tipped him for huge success with the England squad were he to be picked.
The 26-year-old has bounced back from a disappointing start to the season, having been sent off in the opening game, to rediscover his best form and help the Magpies try and pull away from the relegation battle beneath them.
A starring role from the former Swansea City star helped his side pick up a shock win over Manchester United last month, while he picked up his first two assists of the season during the 3-0 victory over fellow survival hopefuls Southampton.
Now, with Gareth Southgate set to announce his England squad for the friendly matches against the Netherlands and Italy, Wright says Shelvey should be included, and that he could have a major impact were he to be deployed against lower ranked sides, who he believes the Three Lions have struggled against due to their compact tactics.
Speaking on Sky Sports’ The Debate (13/03), he said: “I would probably would have Jonjo Shelvey in and around the squad.
Someone like Shelvey, with his confidence and the way he plays, against the teams that might sit back he may unlock a lesser team.
“He could maybe do it more than a Eric Dier or a Jordan Henderson.”
Shelvey has made 24 appearances this season, and has chipped in with one goal.
Football Insider verdict
Shelvey has always been recognised for his talents when it comes to passing and distribution, but question marks hang over his discipline and maturity. He already has England caps under his belt so knows what being on international duty is like, and that might well get him the nod over some of the uncapped names that are being mentioned by pundits. If he has any chance of getting into the World Cup squad, then he needs to be included in the friendly fixtures, or pull a rabbit out of the hat between now and the end of the season. Newcastle fans may well hope he does not get picked though, as they would rather see him do the business in black and white rather than with the Three Lions.
In other Newcastle United news, the Magpies are expected to make a swoop for the Toon Army’s dream target this summer.