Jonjo Shelvey was left ‘upset’ by England boss Gareth Southgate following the midfielder’s omission from the Three Lions’ squad ahead of the World Cup in Russia this summer, according to Newcastle United team-mate Dwight Gayle.
The 26-year-old, who has received backing from a number of high-profile names, was left out by the 47-year-old national team manager, with Jordan Henderson, Jesse Lingard, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, as well as Dele Alli and Eric Dier all preferred instead.
Fabian Delph was another to make the list, although his versatility – which has been shown under Pep Guardiola at Manchester City this term – could be an explanation as to why the 28-year-old was chosen.
However, Shelvey also failed to make England’s standby list, with Lewis Cook, Adam Lallana and Jake Livermore Southgate’s preferred options, something which, according to Gayle, has left the Romford-born midfielder ‘upset’.
“I am close friends with Jonjo, and he was upset he didn’t make it,” Gayle said of his team-mate’s omission during an interview with the Mirror.
“His range of passes, one touches, and thought process are a lot quicker than other players. And while he is not the biggest guy, you don’t often see him getting pushed off the ball, because he is so forward-thinking in possession.
“He offers something different to some of the other players in there. He should have been called up. England have missed out there.”
During his post-announcement press conference, Southgate cited, ‘personality’ as the reasoning behind Shelvey not making the plane; however, Gayle is adamant the 26-year-old is simply misunderstood.
“He’s perceived to be a bit differently,” the Toon Army frontman added. “But he’s a good lad and a really good friend. It’s his will to win that might make people see him as aggressive. Last weekend, we were in the garden with the lads, and some of their kids are having a kick-about. Then Jonjo joined in and started flying into them with full-on tackles!
“We’ve had a few arguments. I remember in one game he was meant to give the ball back to their keeper and he accidentally booted it out for a throw-in. I was happy for them to throw the ball back to their keeper and get on with it. But he went mad at me, saying: ‘Do you not want to win?’ But that’s just the way he is – desperate to win.”
Despite Alan Shearer, Chris Waddle and Ian Wright all recently claiming Shelvey should be included in the squad, one goal and three assists in 30 league appearances may also go some way in the reasoning behind Southgate’s decision.