In an exclusive interview with Football FanCast, Steve Howey, who made 150 appearances for Newcastle United, has slammed Jonjo Shelvey for his lack of work-rate and effort when he doesn’t have the ball.
Shelvey has long been hailed for his passing ability, specifically his ability to play long balls, however this season his long passing success rate is 58.1% which does not even rank him in the top 10 at Newcastle.
The midfielder has started the third-most games for Newcastle in the Premier League out of outfield players with 20 starts or more, as well as never being subbed off in the league, which does raise a question over his presence within the side if he is one of the constants when the Magpies are performing poorly.
Speaking on Shelvey’s poor performances off the ball as well as his talent on the ball, Howey told FFC:
“I’ve watched him for a while and he is awful at tracking a runner. If he is fronted up by somebody and they pass it behind them then he doesn’t track them.
“On the ball, he’s very good, he’s a tidy player and has got good ability, but you need to do both and probably more of the ugly stuff when you’re in this sort of situation.
“When he gets the ball he has to make it count and show his quality. However, at the moment, Newcastle are getting neither from him.”
To highlight the £70,000-per-week midfielder’s lack of effort on the defensive side of play, he has the second-worst success rate when pressing the ball, only beaten by Ryan Fraser who has started 11 fewer games than Shelvey.
Newcastle United need players who can fight for them as they are in the midst of a relegation scrap with Fulham just two points behind them.