Newcastle midfielder Jonjo Shelvey has responded to comments by teammate Matt Ritchie claiming the former Liverpool man could “play for Barcelona” if he had the right mentality.
Speaking to Sky Sports, the Englishman revealed a friend sent him a mocked up picture of him in a Barcelona jersey stood next to a certain someone. He also wasn’t best pleased with Ritchie saying he plays golf slightly too much…
“Someone sent me a picture of me in a Barcelona shirt next to Messi,” said Shelvey. “Matty text me saying he’s had everyone asking him, ‘is he really that good? Is he really that good?’
“It’s very flattering for people to say stuff like that and Matty obviously knows his football. But I was a bit peed off that he said I play golf three times a week. He’s killed me with that.”
The Newcastle playmaker has also been reflecting on his career and the decisions made that have brought him to where he is today. Shelvey says he would still love to play in the Champions League, but “time is running out”.
Shelvey said:”But you do sit there sometimes and think, ‘could I have gone higher? Could I have been playing in the Champions League?’
“Hopefully one day I still will, but time’s running out now. You go back in the past and you’ve probably made certain decisions that were wrong.”
Shelvey went on to talk about his ill-fated spell at Liverpool in the early part of his career which saw him leave after just a few years in search of first team football. The 28-year-old isn’t sure he made the best decision when he decided to depart Merseyside.
“I don’t think you would find many other players who go there at 17 and leave at 21 and I think that speaks a lot of what I’m like as a character,” added Shelvey. “I wasn’t happy playing one or two games then coming out of the team.
“I wanted to carry on playing week in, week out.
“I’d been on loan at Blackpool, and at Charlton I’d been obviously playing at such an early age. I don’t think that helped because you get that knack for playing games and constantly being in the team. When you’re playing once and then not playing for six games, I don’t care what any footballer says, you don’t feel involved. You don’t feel part of the team.
“I think that was the feeling I wanted but, in hindsight, should I have stayed? Probably, yeah. Even if it was only for another year or two, just to see how things changed. But it is what it is at the end of the day.
“Every decision I’ve made in my career was just to play, to try and get as much game-time as possible. I can’t say I’ve got too many regrets.”
As much as I understand his plight, it does somewhat irk me that Shelvey sees playing for Newcastle as something of a consolation prize. I guess that’s an indication of just how far we’ve fallen as a club in the last 15 years or so.
Newcastle used to be the destination, now we’re merely just a step on the path to the destination. Hopefully the takeover, if it happens, will help Newcastle get back to a position wherein our own players don’t talk about playing for us as though they’ve received the booby prize at the fair.