JonJo Shelvey 'Could Play For Barcelona Or Real Madrid'
JonJo Shelvey would be good enough for Barcelona or Real Madrid if he 'had his head screwed on' according to Newcastle United teammate Matt Ritchie.
The Newcastle midfielder has been at St James' Park since January 2016, when he joined from Swansea City, and has been a regular presence in the midfield, sometimes being the Magpies standout performer.
That hasn't always been too difficult in a period of general mediocrity for the north east side but Ritchie believes his teammate would even shine on the biggest stage, but only if he concentrated more on football.
"What a player, I've been at Newcastle four years and I've seen him inside a box no more than 10 times.," Ritchie said to the In The Box YouTube channel, "That's how good he is. His natural ability to see passes, to receive the ball, to move the ball.
"I remember playing against him as a kid - I think he scored a hat-trick, he was unbelievable.
"He's got his moves - ending up at Newcastle. I say to him on regular occasions: 'if you had your head screwed on you could play for Barcelona.'
"He's that good. He's got everything."
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And the former Bournemouth winger also revealed that the 28-year-old needed to play less golf if he were to reach his true potential, "I've said to him so many times 'if you just got head down and focused just solely on football and forget about golf and whatever else...'
"He's mad - he'll play golf like three times a week. I'm like 'Jonjo, you can't do that.'
"At Newcastle, he hits the longer passes, he's the one we look to open teams up and create - I feel like, and this is no disrespect to us at Newcastle, but if he was playing at Barcelona or Real Madrid, you can just imagine...he would just blow teams away with his ability.
"You have to have everything in the right place and he likes his golf too much!"
Shelvey has scored five goals in the Premier League this season, making him the top scorer in Steve Bruce's goal shy team, but he hasn't recorded a single assist for his teammates and several other members of the first team have better passing percentages than him.
The former Liverpool midfielder looked to be on his way out of St James' Park last year under Rafa Benitez, with the former manager often leaving him out, but he never looked destined for the Nou Camp or Bernabeu.
We'll need a dose or two of whatever Matt Ritchie is on.