After claiming he was made a scapegoat following Liverpool's December 26th loss to Stoke, Jonjo Shlevey found himself out of favour in league play as Brendan Rodgers instead looked to Steven Gerrard, Lucas, and Jordan Henderson in midfield. It's led to a difficult stretch for the midfielder—and he hasn't always helped himself by his public statements
"I didn't think I was the only one that had a bad game that day," he said last week when asked about the Stoke match, "but I was the one that suffered if you know what I mean." Shelvey still saw action in a pair of FA Cup ties, but when it came to the league he was nowhere to be seen.
So after finally making it back into the action just in time to play his role in Liverpool's slumping defeat to West Bromwich Albion on Monday night, there was always the chance Shelvey would revisit the idea that he's been on the receiving end of undeserved criticism this season when Liverpool play poorly.
In his crosshairs this time around were Twitter "warriors" who "haven't got a clue," and though one can sympathise with the youngster given some of the abuse he will have recieved, it's hard not to wonder if Shelvey might be better served letting his actions on the pitch speak for themselves.
Jonjo Shelvey (@shelveyJ) February 11, 2013
Shelvey's show of frustration, though perhaps unwise, isn't all that hard to understand, and there was clearly plenty of blame to go around for Monday's debacle. The player does, however, have to accept that as the man tasked with the most advanced midfield role—a role he often claims to favour—there are going to be grumbles when he performs poorly.
In the end, though, any problems with Shelvey responding to Twitter abuse are perhaps less about this particular case of him showing annoyance than that he has a bit of a history. In the past, Shelvey has openly discussing his disdain for defending; he's Tweeted unfortunate personal pictures; and then there were those recent claims that it was only he who paid a price for losing to Stoke.
He's young, though, and will hopefully learn. And he could do worse than to learn from a player like Daniel Agger, who despite his often outspoken nature never seems to put a foot wrong—as when, following the loss to West Brom, he accepted his performance quite was simply "not good enough" before cheekily thanking fans for letting him know it.
I agree with most of you. My performance the last 10 minutes of yesterday's game was NOT good enough. It's as simple as that!!!!!— Daniel Agger (@DanielAgger) February 12, 2013
Neither player deserved the abuse they will have received following what was a very tough night, but for Daniel Agger it became a chance to once again impress. For Jonjo Shelvey it was another reminder that it's not only on the pitch where he needs to learn if he's to develop into a top class professional.