Jonjo Shelvey revealed in an interview with The Independent last week that he had ‘given up on the idea’ of ever playing for Gareth Southgate’s England.
Last season, pundits and fans had called for the midfielder to win a place in England’s 2018 World Cup squad, but Southgate eventually passed on him.
His form for Newcastle had certainly warranted a spot in the international set up and many were baffled at Southgate’s decision.
His partnership with Mo Diame inspired a streak of wins in April that guided the club from relegation fodder to a 10th place finish.
But this season it would be difficult to argue for his place in an England line-up.
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Shelvey has still looked like Newcastle’s best player this season, but he is failing to inspire any victories.
The Englishmen is of course not to blame for the Toon’s 10 match win-less run. But you might have expected him to have more than just one assist this season.
His statement about England is a worrying one too and it’s possible that his rejection by Southgate has effected his mentality.
The midfielder showed little spark in a 0-0 draw with Southampton and saw his influence quickly faded away after a fantastic opening 30 minutes in the 1-0 loss against Brighton.
As arguably the Toon’s star player, he needs to realise it may come down to him alone to win matches for Newcastle.
He claimed in The Independent: ‘I now feel like I can run a game from start to finish. I feel like I’ve kicked on as a player… If I stay mentally right during a game, then I feel like I can be up there with the best.”
But Shelvey is only showing glimpses of brilliance across the 90 minutes for the time being. He certainly isn’t running a game from start to finish as he believes he can do.
It’s important then that Shelvey gets his mentality right again. The thought of playing for England clearly gave him confidence and helped inspire Newcastle to unexpected heights last season.
But the aim of simply keeping Newcastle in the Premier League doesn’t seem to inspire the same performances. Especially when he plays against lesser opposition.
Against Manchester United, Newcastle’s number eight was superb and it’s this sort of form he needs to replicate.
Believing you’re the best is one thing, but actually proving it is another thing entirely.