A London lad through and through Jonjo Shelvey had spells at Arsenal and West Ham United before settling at Charlton Athletic as an academy player. At Charlton the technically gifted midfielder excelled off the frontman in an impressive youth team eventually making his debut for The Addicks at just 16 years and 59 days, becoming there youngest ever player ahead of former Liverpool full-back Paul Konchesky.
Strong and dangerous in front of goal he made an immediate impact in the first team becoming a regular at The Valley with his fitness the only issue as a youngster. His terrific form earned him a massive move to Liverpool in 2010 for just over £1 million. Since then things went pretty quiet for the Romford boy, being pushed back into a more definitive central midfield role.
Last season however he started to prove his potential again and now it seems as though he is coming good for both club and country. Despite still little more than a Liverpool bench player at only 20 years old he is starting to look more the complete player then he has previously at Anfield. Competent on both feet and still carrying that rasping long range shot that was his trademark at Charlton he is looking to be developing into that talent we thought he could.
At international level he has captained England’s Under 19’s and after an extremely impressive performance against Azerbaijan in an Under 21 match his credentials appear to have gone up again. An unstoppable delivery was converted by Tottenham’s Steven Caulker before he finished the result himself with an emphatic finish in a 2-0 win.
England and Liverpool certainly have a talent at their hands who of course must be nurtured correctly. He has been on the scene for a considerable time so it is often easy to forget he is only 20 years old. He appears to be filling out physically and mentally seems more switched on to the rigours of professional football.
Brendan Rodgers obviously sees him as a feature in the first team squad this season. His impressive form on loan at Blackpool, which included a first career hat-trick, last season, seems to have helped his development. Who is to say his short spell on loan couldn’t one day be talked about as favourably as similar deals such as Frank Lampard’s at Swansea or David Beckham’s at Preston.
The spanner in the works is Scotland’s keenness to give him a full cap. He is eligible through his grandfather and has admitted such an opportunity would be considered.
But would it be a loss for England? Is Jonjo starting to impress recently after a sluggish start to his Anfield career?
Remember at just 20 the world is his oyster, for club and country.
image: © kong niffe