Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Jon-Go Shelvey

The news that Addicks starlet Jonjo Shelvey has moved to a top Premiership side is unsurprising, but the timing of the deal is odd given he will not be available for the play-offs.

It does however lend credence to the view that Phil Parkinson’s apparent reluctance to utilise the player, was in large part due to a desire to protect from injury the club’s most valuable intangible asset.

However if so, it would surely not have made sense to have played him at all unless the fleeting appearances were an attempt to give him just enough playing time to appease the various scouts, with fingers in the directors box well crossed every time he went in for a tackle.

It seems I’m in a minority of one amongst Charlton fans, but I’ve held the view that the teenager clearly has talent, but I’m not convinced he has great potential.

This may sound paradoxical but talent is a pre-requisite, but not a guarantee for success.

No-one doubts his ability when given time on the ball. Meanwhile the goals he has scored suggest a very natural finisher.

However, he lacks pace and is a very poor header of the ball despite his height, although the latter can of course be worked upon to some degree.

So far, so very Frank Lampard.

But it’s his languid style which borders on the casual, which has always made me question the fairly obvious potential comparison with the Chelsea midfielder, whose workrate and fitness is astonishing.

For those Charlton fans with good memories meanwhile, a similar contrast with both Lee Bowyer and Scott Parker could not be starker either.

I doubt a single fan could state with confidence what Shelvey’s best position is.

If it’s a deep-lying striker ‘in the hole’ (which it probably is) then how many teams will set themselves up with the formation to utilise this?

You have to be a pretty special player to have a team built around you, particularly at Premiership level let alone in League One where he was often a square peg in a tactical round hole.

Thus I don’t view the transfer fee as particularly disappointing, especially in the context of our greatly challenged bargaining position.

Realistically how much more cash could the club have negotiated, for a player who has at times impressed, but has hardly been a stand-out performer even in League One?

Compare it for example to the impact that Lee Bowyer had at the same age, but one division above. Virtually an ever-present, his energy, drive and goals drove the team to an unlikely play-off berth in 1995/96.

For those that like conspiracy theories, perhaps rather than a transfer driven by acute financial difficulty, maybe the club (and Parkinson) had developed certain concerns about Shelvey’s true potential themselves (perhaps derived from aspects of his character, who knows?).

If so, his value could actually be falling not rising if he stayed for say one more season?

This view would be an alternative (and hardly outlandish) way of looking at Parkinson’s decision not to give him more playing time.

From Liverpool’s perspective, it certainly suggests a change of strategic direction away from foreign youngsters. He will inevitably end up on loan somewhere next season so the club can have a proper look at him.

Meanwhile the possibility of a ‘strategic partnership’ with Liverpool does bring back unfortunate memories of the similar deal struck in the 1990s with Inter Milan, however it could have some merit.

With the top Premiership clubs operating with playing squads of 40-50, the scope for loan deals is enormous (Arsenal currently have 14 players out alone, many of them very impressive).

Readers of this blog will know I don’t generally favour loans, but giving playing time to talented youngsters on Liverpool’s books is a more palatable option than taking cast-offs from the likes of Notts County and Reading.

However I’m not quite sure what ‘in both directions’ might mean per the club’s website in terms of player development, unless Liverpool are planning to give our youngsters an opportunity to work on the Anfield concourses.

Anyhow, I wish Shelvey well; he seems like a nice kid and he made a valuable contribution to what still might turn out to be a promotion season.

I’d be delighted to be proven wrong about his long-term prospects.


At 4:24 PM, Blogger Wyn Grant said...

Well said as always. I am not as cynical about the Liverpool partnership as most people are, given how well their relationship with Crewe worked.

At 4:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think they will loan out their fringe players to us, and we will sell all our youth talents to them.

At 5:31 PM, Anonymous sm said...

What I find sad about this matter is that Shelvey does not appear to have developed very much as a player during the last 12 months - and we could probably have got more for him 12 months ago.

Some really hard questions need to be asked about the level of coaching and motivation at the club as I find it very difficult to think of players at the club where it is possible to point to improvements in their game over the last season.

Who would reveive the most improved player award?

At 5:34 PM, Blogger New York Addick said...

Very good point, sm.

I do indeed think very hard questions need to be asked about the level of coaching and motivation at the club, as you put it.

PP has only won 25 of 72 league games as Addicks boss - really a poor record and as you suggest, unlikely to improve imminently.

Most improved player?: Elliot?

At 7:06 PM, Blogger CharltonChris said...

Well, if he had to leave (and I suppose he did), Liverpool would be the club I would have chosen for him.

At 7:13 PM, Blogger ChicagoAddick said...

Certainly Bowyer, Parker, Walsh and Paul Elliott made much more valuable contributions that Shelvey did.

I still think he should have played a lot more though. I would like to know how many games we won when he started.

Most improved player: Would have been Youga before injury. Burton? Elliot is a good shout though.

At 10:30 PM, Anonymous Chris said...

The timing of the sale seems does seem quite extraordinary at first sight, but the likelihood is that there is a simple and mundane explanation.

My guess is that the move has been in the works for some time and that all other things being equal it would have gone through at the end of the season, i.e. just a month away even if Club manage to reach the Play-Off Final. However, it seems that Phil Parkinson had reached the point where he didn’t see Jonjo as a likely starter, either because he isn’t yet good enough or, perhaps, because the imminent transfer had gone to the player’s head; maybe a bit of both. This would have presented no real difficulty if Jonjo’s absence from the side hadn't created a lot of noise, i.e. “Where is Jonjo? What is going on? Parkinson doesn’t know what he is doing” etc. Not only would this noise have been irritating, it may also have been a real distraction to the Manager and his players. Faced with this situation perhaps Parky simply said, “Let’s just get this done and in the public domain so that we can move on and focus on winning promotion”. If Parkinson has gone “cold” on the player he may well be taking the view that he is making a very small sacrifice for this clarity.

I may well be wrong, but for me this explanation seems more plausible than some of the more conspiratorial alternatives!

By the way, I share your scepticism about Shelvey’s prospects. When I first saw him I thought he was terrific; he seemed to have touch, time and vision, but he doesn’t seem to have progressed. As you say, he has no pace and, more generally, may turn out not to be a good enough athlete to play at the highest level. Poor old Rafa hasn’t really distinguished himself in the transfer market and perhaps it is significant that Jonjo has “chosen” Liverpool!!!

At 12:54 PM, Anonymous South Croydon Addick said...

Can I get odds on the first product of the so-called strategic partnership being the loan of one J Shelvey back to us for the season?

Often wondered while watching the game pass by Shelvey during his various cameo performances this season whether I was the only one who didn't quite "get it". Clearly, judging by posts on the various blogs, I wasn't.

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