Some people have reacted with disappointment at the news in which captain, Jamaal Lascelles failed to receive his first senior international call-up including the big man himself. For me, personally, I am particularly disappointed that Lascelles had missed out on a place in the England squad at the expense of Alfie Mawson and this does not bode well for Jamaal’s chances of a place in the England squad for the World Cup.
As for Jonjo Shelvey, who has had a fortunate good run of form of late, he has also missed out on a place in the latest England squad. To begin with, this news did not come as much of a surprise to me on the basis that Shelvey has failed to provide something of a wow factor through the course of the season. However, after seeing the whole squad list, I feel like Shelvey should have certainly deserved to get into the squad ahead of the likes of Jake Livermore and Lewis Cook. Jordan Henderson, who now rarely plays for Liverpool, always seems to be guaranteed a place with England because of his captaincy role and not chosen based on his “fantastic” ability who would make an Andres Iniesta in his prime look on in awe. Ok, I’ll put the sarcasm on hold.
Looking at Jake Livermore and Lewis Cook and how they have been performing this season. Livermore has not been a stand out player in a very poor West Brom team which suggests to me that a drop down to the Championship might be of benefit to him and I feel that the Championship matches his level of quality a player that he is. Lewis Cook is a promising youngster and I am looking forward to seeing how he gets on in the future. However, when comparing passing ability, Shelvey is someone who is very difficult to beat and makes for a very good player in the Advanced Playmaker role. Shelvey, for me, is like a weaker Jack Wilshere but not as injury prone.
In this next section, I will look at what the club’s record is like with and without Lascelles and Shelvey. I won’t be providing stats for Alfie Mawson because he has been ever-present for Swansea this season.
Played: 25 (including one sub appearance), Won: 8, Drawn: 7, Lost: 10, Goal Difference: -1, Points: 31.
Played: 5, Won: 0, Drawn: 1, Lost: 4, Goal Difference: -9, Points: 1.
I think those statistics speak volumes on how many Newcastle fans feel about Lascelles – we simply suffer and fall apart when he is unavailable. I feel like Goal Difference plays a big part in these statistics. Having a GD of -9 out of five matches is very poor, whereas we have a feeling of solidity in defence with Lascelles in the back line. Another key stat to back up Lascelles’ quality is that, in league matches he has played in this season, we have conceded more than two goals on only one occasion and that came against Man City away from home.
On top of his defending abilities, Lascelles has also shown that he is capable of having a good head for goal from corner kick situations. Because of his goals against Swansea, Stoke and Burnle
y, we are five points better off so it is safe to say that, without those points, we would have been in big trouble against relegation. I really hope that Lascelles breaks into the England squad for the World Cup because he deserves that achievement. Some can argue that Lascelles would be preferred over a Gary Cahill who struggles to break into the Chelsea team and John Stones because he is John Stones.
Played: 22 (including five sub appearances), Won: 5, Drawn: 7, Lost: 10, Goal Difference: -10, Points: 22.
Played: 8, Won: 3, Drawn: 1, Lost: 4, Goal Difference: 0, Points: 10.
Jonjo Shelvey has had a rather interesting season. Whilst being in the Championship last season, it is safe to say that good results were very difficult to come by whenever he failed to play. Things have taken a turn this season in the sense that we have, so far, achieved a distinctly average record without Shelvey and more importantly, we still find a way to win without him.
In my view, my only reason why Shelvey should be taken to the World Cup is to act as a back-up for Jack Wilshere who will probably get injured. With Shelvey facing rather competitive competition for a place in the England squad, I think that his chances of playing for England in the future are slim but I would love to be proved wrong. On top of that, it would not surprise me if Southgate and Eddie Howe would like to make Lewis Cook into something of the next Steven Gerrard and a step forward towards doing so would be to give Cook the luxurious opportunities of game time for England even if he is not in the best of form before an England call-up.