Shelvey Requested More Time with U21s

Clive Brunskill

After seeing his time on the pitch drop dramatically with the first team, Jonjo Shelvey's found regular minutes with the U21s, a change he reportedly requested.

As the January window approached, the possibility of sending Liverpool players on loan was an increasingly hot topic. Of those that had seen first-team minutes, most agreed that a deal for Suso--which was rumored to be in the works at Wigan--would be of benefit, and while it wasn't something you'd have guessed in September, general consensus had a loan spell for Jonjo Shelvey as something that'd be more than justified.

Minutes with the senior squad had faded dramatically, and with Shelvey clearly the fifth-choice midfielder, there was little to indicate that he'd be getting regular time. That was apparently clear enough to the player as well, who joined Alex Inglethorpe's U21 squad for their matchup with Manchester United and saw continued minutes against Southampton the following week.

"I just want to keep playing games because there's nothing worse than training all week and not playing at the weekend. It's a case of getting myself some games and keeping myself ticking over.

"I was told I was playing against United for the U21s. I thought it was because they were against a bigger team and they're doing so well, I might help the team get a win. After that, I said to Brendan: 'If there are any other games that fit in with the schedule, can I play in them?'"

Time in the reserves might not be as good as a loan, but it's better than pining away on the bench, and it's at least nice to see a player take the initiative to advocate for such a move. At 21 years old he's by no means the youngest player on the fringes of the first team, but he's someone who's got plenty of growing to do, which he's ostensibly getting by dropping down a level.

I'm still of the opinion that he could use a loan deal in the summer, preferably to a Premier League club that could, at least initially, guarantee a starting spot on a consistent basis. He needs match experience in order to mature, and if he doesn't get that at Anfield, he should be given a chance to move elsewhere. Talk of a permanent move seems premature, but if Liverpool are going to see what he's going to be able to offer, a temporary one might be their best bet.

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