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Rodgers: Shelvey Working Hard to Get Into Team

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Being a young player always means flirting with the edges of the first team, but in his captain's absence Jonjo Shelvey may get one more chance this term to make an impact on his manager.

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"Petrificus Totalus? In this pose? You're a jerk, Lucius."
"Petrificus Totalus? In this pose? You're a jerk, Lucius."
Clive Brunskill

If there was one thing Lord Voldemort knew, it was that sometimes you just have to lay low and wait for a good opportunity to strike at the end of a school year. Hanging out in Albania and living off unicorn blood may not be Jonjo Shelvey's preferred way to spend time, but with Steven Gerrard's shoulder surgery ruling him out, the midfielder now has a chance to make a big move back into the starting line-up with two matches left in the season.

Since January, Shelvey has only started two matches, been a substitute for a few more than that, and then spent the bulk of his time as an unused sub on the bench. His lack of first team action this calendar year isn't a concern for Brendan Rodgers, though, and Shelvey's displays at Melwood and with the U21s are making it more likely he'll make Rodgers' team sheet on Sunday.

"Jonjo is a talented player," Rodgers said. "He is a young player that came here with big expectations and it's sometimes difficult, but I think he has played quite a lot this year. In the last few months he hasn't been in the team and because we've been down to one game a week, it's been difficult for him to show.

"We're trying to create that competition [for places in the line-up]. We're hoping to improve competition in the summer again because there hasn't been enough of it. When you bring in good players, it always creates a reaction from other good players. Jonjo has worked well and is looking to find himself in the team, but obviously the form over the second half of the season has made it difficult."

Getting another taste of first team action before the close of the season will be a nice boost for the player heading into the summer break where he is eligible to represent England at the UEFA Euro 2013 Under-21 tournament in Israel in June. For now, though, Shelvey just needs to work on his Stupefying shots on net and hope that Fulham has no players protected by ancient magic and blood sacrifices.