???️ Henderson V Shelvey

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Sunday’s match against Newcastle saw Jordan Henderson come up against his old Liverpool teammate in Jonjo Shelvey in the centre of midfield. With the pair being brought to Anfield at roughly the same time and both having similar developments while they were at Liverpool under King Kenny and then Rodgers, I wanted to take a closer look at both their careers so far and see if Liverpool made the right decision in letting Shelvey go? Shelvey was one of the first signings Liverpool made of the Roy Hodgson era, and as much as we would like to forget that summer, the young English midfielder who was signed from Charlton was one of the summers more positive signings. Hodgson didn’t really have a great deal to do in terms of Shelvey’s early development, not that he did a lot with Liverpool in general, and when he was sacked after only six months Kenny Dalglish saw a opportunity to take the young Shelvey and develop him into a box to box midfielder that fans would be proud to see wear the red shirt. The next summer Dalglish also brought in Jordan Henderson from Sunderland who played a similar role to Shelvey . Henderson was two years older and therefore further along in his development, he already had Premier League experience at Sunderland and was able to come in and slot into the first team straight away. It didn’t take Henderson long to make an impact with the youngster scoring his first Liverpool goal in only his third match at the club, however despite that promising start Henderson rather fell by the wayside and his performances seemed to drop off dramatically . That season he was in and out of the team and mainly used as a right sided midfielder rather than playing in the middle which was his preferred position. Henderson second goal for Liverpool didn’t come in till the last couple of games of the season and a 4-1 win at Anfield against Chelsea, ironically it was the same night that Shelvey got his first goal for the Reds. Personally I always thought that the two players were very similar at their early stages in the Liverpool careers but what I found interesting is that the season after, under Rodgers, Shelvey actually seemed to develop more within the Liverpool first team, he scored more goals than Henderson and was overall a more influential player. Despite this it was Shelvey that was let go in the summer of 2013 and at the time I found the decision to be very baffling but since leaving Liverpool Shelvey has failed to live up to the hype that surrounded him when he first moved to Anfield, there has been glimpses of what he’s capable of but he’s never been able to produce solid performances on a regular basis. Whereas on the other hand Henderson’s career has gone from strength to strength, now wearing the armband for not just his club but his country as well, Henderson has become one of the best English midfielders in the Premier League. So where did it all go wrong for Shelvey and are the two players that far apart in terms of talents? According to the stats you have to say no. Obviously we know Henderson has played more games in the Premier League than Shelvey , 257 compared to Shelvey’s 145. However despite playing over 100 more Premier League games than Shelvey, Henderson has only managed to score 13 more goals than his old teammates and what is more surprising is the goals per game ratio isn’t that different for both players. Shelvey has average 0.08 goals per match in the Premier League where as Henderson averages 0.10 goals per match, as you can see there is not a lot in it. Their shooting and crossing accuracy is not miles apart either with Shelvey having a 32% shooting accuracy compared to Henderson’s 30% and the crosses are 25% to 22% in Henderson’s favour. So what has let Shelvey down? Well in my opinion it’s his discipline, we all remember how he lost his head after being sent off for Liverpool against Manchester United. Although we all loved him having a go at Ferguson on the way down the tunnel, and most Liverpool fans are in agreeance with what he was saying it’s still not the most professional way to handle yourself in a big game like that. At the end of the day that red card probably cost us that game and Shelvey has done this time and time again not just in a Liverpool shirts. It’s one thing having talents, which in my opinion both players have but you have to have the right attitude towards the game and out of the two players only Henderson has the attitude needed to make it. Personally I still feel that Shelvey could’ve been a success at Anfield and I would have liked to seen him in Henderson in the same midfield; however I can see why Liverpool decided to let him go. I just find it very interesting  how two players with a similar level of talent can have their careers go in completely opposite directions, it just goes to show football isn’t all about the physical aspects of the game but you have to have the right mindset if you want to reach the top level.   Imraan Adam @imadam786
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