Paul Merson has heaped praise on Newcastle United midfielder Jonjo Shelvey for the presence of mind he showed to score against Sheffield United on Thursday night.
The 27-year-old kept on playing when everyone else around him had stopped for an offside call from the linesman, only to see the goal given after a VAR review.
And Merson was suitably impressed with Shelvey’s quick thinking.
Speaking on Soccer Saturday (Sky Sports News, December 7th, 13.00), he said: “Jonjo Shelvey needs a lot of credit for knowing the game the other night.
“Very intelligent to go and score the goal and let VAR sort it out.”
Shelvey did exactly the right thing on Thursday evening, and he deserves all the praise of his quick-thinking. The 27-year-old could easily have stopped when everybody else did, and he must have had to fight his initial instinct to pull up when the linesman flagged. But by powering through that and seeing it through to the end, he managed to score one of the easiest goals of his career, and relieve the pressure on his teammates when Sheffield United were really in the ascendancy. That comes with experience and a natural understanding of the game, and increasingly, Shelvey is looking like a key figure for this Magpies’ side. With a Whoscored rating of 7.07 for the season he has been a standout performer, and now he is starting add goals back into his game again, he could be a real difference-maker for the Toon Army.