Jonjo Shelvey


By Dan King - Newcastle United Digital Editor


Rob Elliot first became aware of Jonjo Shelvey's potential when they played together at Charlton several years ago.

And how he's backing the Newcastle United new boy to become a "hero" at St. James' Park - and an England regular.

Shelvey became the youngest player in Charlton's history when he made his debut against Barnsley in April 2008, aged 16 years and 59 days old.

Two years later, he was on his way to Liverpool - and had already made an impression on goalkeeper Elliot, who was the Addicks' number one before moving to Newcastle in August 2011.

Now the pair are reunited. Elliot has been in excellent form since stepping in for the injured Tim Krul in October, while Shelvey made an instant impact in the 2-1 win over West Ham last weekend.

"I'm lucky enough to know Jonjo well," Elliot told nufcTV. "I knew his quality and I knew he'd be fine.

"His mentality's fantastic and I think once he started spraying the ball around (on Saturday), the crowd really warmed up.

"You could see not only the confidence build when he got the ball but you could see the players realising his ability. It's a brilliant addition to our squad - a squad which is improving and getting better."

Shelvey signed a five-and-a-half year contract with the Magpies after leaving Swansea City last week.

He has represented England at under-16, under-17, under-19 and under-21 level, and has six full caps for his country, having made his international bow in a World Cup qualifier against San Marino in October 2012.

And Elliot insisted: "Jonjo can be anything he wants to be.

"I've said it since he was 15 years old. When he went to Liverpool, I (still) thought it.

"Liverpool let him go too early in my opinion. He's the only player I've played with that could come close to Steven Gerrard and be that sort of player.

"He's got everything you need. Basically, it's in Jonjo's hands - it's up to him. If he wants to go on and play 50, 100 times for England, then he can.

"He can go on and achieve anything he wants to do and I think he's got that mentality. He's only 23 - people forget he's so young - and he's achieved a lot already. He can go on to be a regular for England, he can go on to be an absolute hero here, and I think that's what he's working towards.

"I think it took him aback, actually, coming here; he's played for some big clubs and played for England, but the atmosphere on Saturday - I think he was a bit in awe of it. It's given him even more to go on, because he won't go to many grounds and get the reception he got.

"I don't think any ground can compete with that, to be honest."

You can watch the full nufcTV interview with Rob Elliot here