Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has challenged 21-year-old midfielder Jonjo Shelvey to step up and show him why he deserves a first team place in the Reds final two games of the season.
Rodgers told the press at his pre-match press conference ahead of this Sunday’s Premier League trip to Fulham that Shelvey would come “into contention” with Steven Gerrard missing the rest of the season, recovering from shoulder surgery.
Shelvey scored a screamer for Liverpool’s Under-21 side on Monday night against Manchester Utd at Old Trafford and now Rodgers hopes he can replicate that in the first team.
“Jonjo is a talented player,” Rodgers is quoted on the club’s official website as saying. “He is a young player that came here with big expectations and it’s sometimes difficult, but I think he has played quite a lot this year.”
Shelvey has been forced to try and impress Rodgers and his team from the Under-21s for some time this season, as he struggles to reguarly break into the senior team.
Rodgers added, “In the last few months he hasn’t been in the team and because we’ve been down to one game a week, it’s been difficult for him to show.
“You saw from his goal during the week for the U21s against Manchester United he has fantastic quality. The power and quality of that strike showed what he’s got.
“He’ll come into contention to play, as will some of the other players who have been outstanding in training and trying to demonstrate they want to be in the team.”
Shelvey has made 67 appearances for Liverpool since signing in the summer of 2009 from Charlton Atheltic, just as Rafa Benitez departed Anfield. He has found the target 7 times for the first team.
Fulham vs Liverpool gets underway at 3pm on Sunday, 12th May 2013.