“Whatever else you may say about Shelvey, he rarely goes missing – even when things aren’t going for him,” Douglas wrote. “It may sometimes appear that way given his demeanour but bravery in a football context isn’t just about slide tackles and beating your chest.
“It’s also about attempting to play ambitious passes or get the ball moving forward when the rest of the team isn’t clicking and Shelvey was trying to do that. His superb headed goal from the Carroll cross showed a willingness to gamble when others might not. He is playing with a point to prove and enjoying himself.”
There’s no doubt that Shelvey has returned to form with a vengeance over the past month or so. He fell out of the team in the early portion of the season, and even saw a teenager in Matty Longstaff starting ahead of him at times. However, once Sean Longstaff was sent off against Wolverhampton Wanderers at the back end of October, the England international was unleashed, and he has been in sensational form ever since. His WhoScored ratings for his past six games stand at: 8.09, 6.96, 6.64, 7.72, 8.07 and 8.23. There have been missteps – that Aston Villa defeat most notably – but it appears that we are starting to get more consistency from the former Swansea City man. Oh, by the way, in those six games he has scored four times. His performance on Sunday shows how vital he is to Steve Bruce’s team. As per WhoScored.com, Shelvey had three shots and produced four key passes, while he made two crosses and pumped 14 long balls forward. It’s safe to say that his point has been proven.