Roy Hodgson offers advice to Jonjo Shelvey

By Carl Markham,Pa
Wednesday 29 December 2010 11:44

Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson has urged young midfielder Jonjo Shelvey to learn from his more experienced team-mates in order to become a Barclays Premier League star of the future.

The highly-rated 18-year-old was signed from Charlton late last season for £1.7million, which could rise to £3million.

He was fast-tracked into the first team squad thanks to Hodgson's decision to use fringe players in the Europa League.

That has led the England youth international making four Premier League substitute appearances.

And while he has yet to really make his mark at this level Hodgson believes he has the quality to succeed.

"I haven't thought when Jonjo Shelvey plays a good game that it lifts him above Raul Meireles, Lucas Leiva or Christian Poulsen because they are good players too," said the Reds boss.

"What is good to see is that a young player we have invested money in is proving to be worth his money and is proving to be the future prospect we think he is.

"He is a confident young man but he's modest and he knows there is a lot of work to be done before he can hold his hand up and say 'Look at me, what a good Premier League player I am'.

"In players like Steven Gerrard, in particular, and also Poulsen, Meireles and Lucas he has people he can look at and say 'That's the benchmark'."

With all-but Jamie Carragher (shoulder) and Jay Spearing (ankle) fit in the first team squad the younger players are unlikely to see much action in the coming weeks.

Their opportunities were reduced further when the traditionally-busy festive period was eased somewhat by postponements against Fulham and Blackpool over the last two weekends.

And with Hodgson pledging to field a stronger team in Europe now they are through to the knockout stages many will be reduced to the role of bit-part players again.

But Hodgson has seen enough potential in the first half of the season to know he has something to work with in the future.

"I have been delighted by the way our young, inexperienced players have stood up to the test," added the 63-year-old.

"Being able to use the squad has been very useful as it has allowed us to have a fresher team at the weekend.

"It has also given me a chance to have a look at Shelvey, Dani Pacheco, Danny Wilson and Martin Kelly - it has been vital for us to learn about younger players."

Gerrard returns against Wolves tonight at Anfield after more than six weeks out with a hamstring tear while defender Daniel Agger could be in the squad, having last played for the Reds on September 25 because of a complex calf problem.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments