Steadily rising up the rungs

Despite making his first-team debut in April 2008, Jonjo Shelvey had to wait until Charlton’s FA Cup third-round tie against Norwich in January 2009, for his first goal, one which made the 16-year-old the club’s youngest ever goal-scorer. By Andrew Lawton.

There have already been some stand-out performances in the English Premier League this season but arguably none have been quite as influential as Jonjo Shelvey’s against Liverpool.

Facing his former club for the first time, the Swansea midfielder could surely not have dreamt of having a hand in all four goals but rather than celebrating, he was left apologising to his own fans after his mistakes gifted the Reds a share of the points in a 2-2 draw.

It should maybe have come as no surprise though, given how much Shelvey has already crammed into his short career.

Still only 21-years-old, Shelvey has already spent three years in the EPL, has played in the Europa League and has an international cap to his name. He has quickly come a long way since starting his professional career at Charlton where he became the club’s youngest ever player at the age of 16 years and 59 days.

Despite making his first-team debut in April 2008, Shelvey had to wait until Charlton’s FA Cup third-round tie against Norwich in January 2009, for his first goal, one which made the 16-year-old the club’s youngest ever goal-scorer. It also prompted Norwich City manager at the time Glenn Roeder to describe Shelvey as having “Premiership class stamped all over him.”

Roeder was not wrong as, after three years at the Addicks, former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez snapped up the 18-year-old for an initial GBP1.7 million.

After a shock defeat in his opening game for the Reds — a League Cup fixture against fourth-tier side Northampton Town at Anfield — Shelvey struggled for consistent first-team football on Merseyside.

In a bid for more regular action, he dropped down a division to join Blackpool on loan. In a more advanced attacking midfield role under Ian Holloway, Shelvey flourished with six goals in nine appearances — including his only professional hat-trick — before being recalled to Liverpool as cover for injuries.

In the 2011/12 season, Liverpool won the League Cup, although Shelvey was not included in the squad for the final against Cardiff which Liverpool won on penalties.

Shelvey’s most memorable stint at Liverpool came a year later in the Europa League group stage. He scored two late goals to give his side a 5-3 victory away against Swiss side Young Boys as well as goals in the reverse fixture and against Udinese to take his tally in the competition to four.

After representing England at under-16, 17, 19 and 21 level, Shelvey continued his progress through the ranks of the national set-up when he made his only senior international appearance to date against San Marino in a World Cup qualifying fixture.

With England’s midfield regulars Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard both missing, England started with Tom Cleverley and Michael Carrick in the centre before Shelvey was brought on in the second half. It gave him another glimpse of the big stage but he knew he needed to become a first-team regular if he was to remain in the England team, hence his decision to leave Liverpool and head to Swansea this summer for an initial GBP5 million fee.

The player claimed that Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard attempted to persuade him to stay at his former club, telling Sky Sports: “He (Gerrard) told me ‘Stay here, you’ll get your chance’ and it was great to hear that from him but I felt I needed to get away.”

Shelvey has certainly made an impact but with his first Swansea goal now under his belt, he will be hoping to push on at his new club and push for further international honours in World Cup year. Shelvey is engaged to former S Club Juniors member Daisy Evans. It is not known what Shelvey currently drives but he had a top-of-the-range Mercedes which was stolen in July 2012.

FACTFILE Player: Jonjo Shelvey Position: Midfield Club: Swansea City DO:B February 27, 1992 International caps: 1 International goals: 0

Moment to remember: Making his England debut in October 2012 against San Marino, coming off the bench in the 66th minute.

Moment to forget: Missing an open goal for England under-21s against Sweden.

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