Hayden defends Shelvey style
Newcastle’s Isaac Hayden has jumped to the defence of midfield partner Jonjo Shelvey and insists his colleague is anything but lazy.
Shelvey, 27, has been criticised by both the press and fans on social media for some of his displays this season, with the focus being on a perceived lack of endeavour.
However, the former Swansea City man has upped his level in recent times and scored a stunning late goal as the Magpies pulled off a 2-2 draw with champions Manchester City on Saturday.
That was his third top-flight goal from nine appearances this term and prompted the talented schemer to respond to critics after the final whistle at St James’ Park.
He told NUFC TV: “If someone calls me lazy after that they really need to have a look at themselves.”
Shelvey’s improved form has also prompted talk of an England recall, with the ex-Liverpool man having won six caps for the Three Lions to date but none since 2015.
Whether he does form part of Gareth Southgate’s squad for Euro 2020 only time will tell, with the England chief having a number of talented midfielders to call on.
Hayden is clearly a big fan of the Romford-born ace and believes the public mistake his languid style for a lack of effort.
“It’s easy for a lot of people to talk on the sidelines, saying ‘He’s lazy’ or ‘He doesn’t do this or that enough’, but his performances show differently,” he told The Chronicle.
“It’s a personal thing with him maybe because he is very laid-back and chilled, but he puts a lot of effort in and he gets himself about the pitch.”
Shelvey’s improvement has mirrored that of his club, with the Tynesiders 14th in the table and four points clear of the relegation zone.
Steve Bruce’s men will have another chance to put points on the board when they travel to Bramall Lane to face Chris Wilder’s in-form Sheffield United on Thursday evening.
Neil Foster is an experienced journalist who specialises in cricket and rugby union. Neil also has a solid knowledge of tennis, golf and football.