Isaac Hayden backed Jonjo Shelvey after Saturday’s draw with Manchester City, but it will take more than a goal to convince fans the stand-in Newcastle skipper deserves a new deal.
Shelvey’s magnificent equaliser against Pep Guardiola’s side was his third of the season, making him Newcastle’s top scorer this campaign, but he has still often flattered to deceive when he has played so far this season.
Speaking to the Newcastle official website after the game, Shelvey claimed he wanted to finish his career on Tyneside, which is fine, if he can perform to the best of his ability every week.
He also said he should not be called lazy by fans who “hide behind keyboards”, and that it does not bother him, which he then totally contradicts by claiming anyone who calls him lazy after Saturday “really need to have a look at themselves”.
While Shelvey did have a good game against the Champions, and topped it off with a superb goal, it his lack of producing it week in and week out, that frustrates many fans.
Having watched every minute he has played this season, his last top performance before Saturday, was in the win at West Ham. And before that? It would probably be at Fulham on the last game of last season.
That is not consistent enough to deserve a new deal on its own, and he needs to be at the top of his game every week.
Shelvey needs to carry on his form from Man City game
Take last week’s defeat at Aston Villa as an example. He was totally outshone by Jack Grealish, and was largely missing for much of the game, barely seeming to make a valued contribution.
While I like the attitude of a player who clearly wants to stay, and who admits he is playing for a new deal, I dislike the fact that he needs a motivating factor, like a potential new contract, to raise his game.
What is wrong with playing for the black and white shirt being enough to produce your top form all the time?
And if Newcastle do reward him with a new contract, and his added incentive for playing well is gone, does that mean he drops back to the lesser Shelvey again?
Do not get me wrong here, an ‘on his game’ Shelvey can be unplayable, with him getting vital goals and pinging 40 yard passes all over the park. But if you only see that once a month, it is not enough.
If he is serious about a new deal, and wanting to see out his remaining playing years at St James’ Park, he needs to maintain the outstanding performances every week. Being okay is simply not going to cut it anymore.