The England international has garnered a reputation as something of a sulker in recent years, but Kelly has shed some light on the more supportive side of the 27-year-old’s character.
“Shelvey is among the Longstaffs’ biggest fans in that dressing room,” he wrote on The Chronicle website. “Before Sean started against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge last season, for example, Shelvey messaged him, telling him not to be fazed by the occasion.
“Often misunderstood – written off as lazy and a sulker by outsiders – it is a little glimpse into what Shelvey is really like away from the cameras.”
This is good stuff from Kelly, giving us an insight into the Shelvey we don’t often get to see. There is a perception of the former Swansea City man as being someone who rates himself incredibly highly, a luxury player who forces managers to shoehorn him into their sides. However, Kelly’s words here tell us that he is also a terrific teammate who is always encouraging the younger members of the squad. Although he’s still not exactly a veteran player in the strictest sense of the word, he is a senior player who has been around at the top level for the better part of a decade now. He likely sees something of himself in the young Longstaff brothers, immensely gifted central midfielders who relish the nasty part of the game as much as the Hollywood passes. He’ll want to help them and guide them on their way, which is clearly what he did when he messaged Sean ahead of the Chelsea clash last season.