Still aged just 21, he is currently a young player of promise but one who is incredibly frustrating.
His physique is impressive, his self-confidence and desire are obvious and seriously beneficial to his all round game.
The ability to ping a pass and unleash rockets from long distance are also obviously in his repertoire. Unfortunately, his deficiencies remain just as obvious. The rashness in the tackle, the erratic decision making, the lack of genuine pace to match his imposing frame and his inability to press consistently also stand out as much as his positive attributes.
In recent months Shelvey’s Liverpool career seems to have hit the skids somewhat. Early on in the campaign he was a regular in Brendan Rodgers’ team selections and his performances were generally impressive for one so young. However, with his sliding form, the improvement of Jordan Henderson and the re-emergence of Lucas, Shelvey’s game time has been restricted of late.
As a result we now see Shelvey often introduced from the bench or starting games of less importance. Naturally in a player so young and so desperate to make an impression, at times this is having a detrimental effect on his game.
The Kop’s frustrations with the fluctuating fortunes of Shelvey’s performances are becoming ever more audible and, as his appearances are becoming more infrequent at first team level, each time he actually manages to get on the pitch, the pressure on him is ratcheted up. He regularly looks as though he is trying too hard, attempting unnecessarily difficult things and desperately trying to make a positive impression.
Perhaps that is harsh, but the reality of situation is that Shelvey needs games and time to improve and Liverpool and its fans don’t necessarily have to suffer through his growing pains with him.
Shelvey is at a crucial moment in his career. He has been capped for England and has performed for Liverpool 29 times this season but realistically he remains a peripheral figure at Anfield and will do so for a while yet at least. Come the beginning of next season, it would appear a natural decision to allow him to go out on loan and establish himself at a Championship club or smaller Premier League club.
Not only would he benefit from regular games, he would be able to hone a particular craft in midfield and return to Anfield with a firm understanding of what type of player he wants to be. Until then though, Brendan Rodgers must utilise his rough diamond and Shelvey must find a way of showing that he is a master of one trade rather than a jack of them all.
While he appears comfortable playing high up the pitch and has scored some goals from that position this season, Shelvey does posses the attributes to suggest that a deeper lying role in midfield would also suit him in the future. His lack of dynamism and speed when Liverpool attack could see him drop deeper to make use of his range of passing and everyone knows that he does so love a tackle. Whatever eventually happens to Shelvey it seems that the next year or so will be fundamental to how his career will pan out.
His performance against Manchester United Under 21’s recently provides optimism. He is clearly a long way above that level right now. He was the best outfield player on the pitch by a distance but perhaps more importantly, his attitude was outstanding. It would have been easy for Shelvey to feel disheartened by having to play in what was essentially a reserve game, but the ex Charlton man displayed a commendable attitude and no little versatility, playing both at left and right back when Liverpool went down to ten men. When you have an attitude like that you always have a chance.
It remains a lingering question whether or not Jonjo Shelvey will manage to step up and take that chance in the near future.