Jonjo Shelvey’s fine form for Newcastle keeps his World Cup dream alive


As the debate rages on whether Jonjo Shelvey should be selected for Gareth Southgate’s England World Cup squad, his Newcastle United manager, Rafa Benitez, who’s been at the heart of his superb form over the last few months, believes he could reach even higher levels with the national team if given a chance.

“Jonjo is a good player but if he has good players around him like with England, he can be even better,” said the Spaniard. “I think it’s good for him because now everybody is talking about how he can now go with the national team. The main thing is he has the talent and he has the quality,”

Recently overlooked by Southgate for his latest squad, it would appear the Three Lions coach is probably leaning against selecting him for the summer showpiece at present. But if Shelvey can keep up his tremendous form levels, he’ll make himself a very difficult man to reject.

Having been an instrumental component towards Newcastle’s sensational run of form that has seen them only lose two of their last 13 league matches, Shelvey’s unquestionably making a strong case to make the plane to Russia.

Full of imagination and creativity, Shelvey’s ability to unlock opposition defences with a sublime defence splitting through ball, a wicked ball over the top or an intricate lay-off could be a real asset for England. Indeed, considering England will likely dominate possession in their group matches, having an ingenuitive option like the 26-year-old enigma could be quite a weapon.

Although his attitude and discipline have been called into question over the years, the fact he manufactures 1.4 clear cut chances per game for the Magpies, in combination with his 1.5 shots per game, one successful dribble per game and roughly four defensive actions per game, only amplify his worth.

A massive threat from dead ball situations to boot, and it’s completely understandable why many are calling for his inclusion, as he possesses that X factor which can be so valuable at big tournaments.

If Shelvey’s fantastic form persists, then Southgate will definitely have a huge decision to make in regards to the maverick midfielder.

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