Jonjo Shelvey mulls over Scotland opportunity
LIVERPOOL midfielder Jonjo Shelvey has refused to rule out the possibility of playing for Scotland but has admitted it would not be his first choice, writes Moira Gordon.
The 20-year-old former Arsenal and West Ham United youth player was signed for the Merseyside club from Charlton in 2010 and has been told he is a big part of new Anfield boss Brendan Rodgers’ plans for the current campaign.
But, while he has eyed a move up on to the international stage and has had discussions with members of the Scotland camp, he says he won’t rush into a decision.
“I’ve had a few meetings with the Scottish FA, given that my grandmother is from Edinburgh. So we’ll see but, at the moment, I’m just concentrating on my club career.
“If the time comes and I’m not playing for England then it’s a road I may look to go down. I’m still young, only 20 years of age, so I don’t have to make a decision just yet.”
The fact that the Romford lad has already represented England, captaining the sides at both under-16 and under-19 level and has four under-21 caps, would not rule him out of Craig Levein’s plans should both manager and player decide he should be part of the Scotland set-up.
“I’ve not spoken directly to Craig Levein about it. We’ve said hello when he’s been down at the training ground to see Charlie [Adam]. When I was at Blackpool last season I had a meeting with a few of the chief scouts for Scotland. I like what they had to say but we’ll just have to wait to see what happens.”
Adam was one of Liverpool’s transfer window departures but Levein is likely to maintain a close watch on Shelvey, whose opinion on Scottish football will have received a boost after the recent Europa League play-off tie with Hearts. Liverpool could only muster a 1-0 victory away from home and, back on their own turf, they were just six minutes away from losing the second leg, after David Templeton’s long-range shot was fumbled over the goal-line by Pepe Reina.
“Credit to Hearts, they came and made it difficult for us, just as they did up in Edinburgh, but I think we deserved to go through,” said Shelvey. “The manager has given me a few chances. I didn’t do so well last week against Hearts but, against Man City and again in midweek, I think I proved I deserved my chance.
“The way the manager wants us to play is to pass it, which suits me down to the ground. The great teams like Arsenal play like that so it’s the way ahead.
“When the manager first came in he told me I was one of the players he’d look to put out on loan. I took that on board and decided that I would show him I wanted to stay here.
“It’s paying off for me. When we got back from America he told me I was going to be a big part of his plans so that gave me a bit more confidence. I will just have to keep putting in performances.”
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