Speaking exclusively to FootballFanCast, ex-Newcastle United ace Steve Howey has demanded more from midfielder Jonjo Shelvey this season.
The 28-year-old, described as being a ‘liability’ by The Telegraph’s Luke Edwards in 2019, has been one of the first names on the team-sheet for Steve Bruce’s side this season. He has started in every single Premier League game, including taking the captain’s armband for the clash against Burnley.
However, his performances for the Magpies have come under some severe criticism, with fans of the Tyneside club ripping into his display against Tottenham late last month.
Now, Howey has weighed in on the six-cap England international, insisting that whilst he’s got the ability, he simply has to do a lot more for the team.
Speaking to FFC’s James Beavis, Howey said: “I think he’s a very talented player. I think he just needs to grab the game by the scruff of the neck a bit more given his ability. He’s an experienced pro now, he’s been about a bit and been with some top teams. He’s got the ability to spray passes left, right and centre and he’s very, very good at it.
“But obviously, it’s what does he do off the ball. That’s why you’ve got maybe Isaac Hayden in there, who breaks play up and gives it to Shelvey to pass it. Even though he has a very good range of passing, he just has to make sure he finds his men. If you lose the ball, you’ve got to quickly go back on the defensive.
“I’ve got no doubt in my mind that he’s a very good player, but when you’ve got that ability, you’ve got to do the rubbish stuff that players don’t like to do. The hunting, the tackling and getting in there and trying to win the ball back. I’m not saying he doesn’t do it, but everybody’s got to be in the same pot together.”
Given that Shelvey has now been at the club for a number of years now, and has made 146 appearances in total, it’s quite telling that Magpies fans aren’t still unanimously in love with the midfielder.
The 28-year-old has produced some magic in his time at St James’ Park – his screamer against Manchester City last season was just one of those iconic moments – but it’s just far too inconsistent.
It’s up to Shelvey alone to try and answer his critics.