Jeff Stelling has revealed his shock at how impressive Newcastle United midfielder Jonjo Shelvey has been in recent weeks.
The 27-year-old has hit three goals in his last three games for the Toon Army, and the Sky Sports presenter has been quick to praise both him, and his high-flying teammates.
Speaking on Soccer Saturday (Sky Sports News, December 14th, 12.00), he said: “Who would have thought that Jonjo Shelvey would have scored in three successive games for Newcastle, and that Steve Bruce’s side would be in mid-table with one point less than Spurs, the same number Arsenal, and five more than Everton?”
Shelvey has been in superb form of late, and he is fully deserving of this kind of praise from Stelling, but if we’re being honest, it has come as a surprise. Nobody has ever doubted Shelvey’s ability. There are few in the Premier League who can pass a ball like him, and even fewer who possess his vision to read a game and pick apart defences. But there have been time when his application has seemed poor, and for large parts of last season under Rafa Benitez, it felt as if he could be on his way out of the club. Under Steve Bruce, however, he looks entirely rejuvenated. Entrusted with the armband during the absence of Jamaal Lascelles, Shelvey has risen to the responsibility admirably, and over the course of the past three games, has really hit top gear. His last outing in particular, that late win over Southampton at St. James’ Park, saw him register a Whoscored rating of 8.23, and he looked every inch the player we know he can be.