During a summer in which England's biggest clubs have spent tens of millions of pounds on some of the biggest talents from around the world, you wouldn't be blamed for thinking that a lot of focus has been taken away from young English players.

Why have clubs like Liverpool and Everton brought in young foreigners like Luis Alberto and Gerard Deulofeu, instead of looking at English players who would probably be cheaper, and hopefully encourage heavier investments in clubs' youth academies?

Admittedly, clubs aren't spoilt for choice when it comes to signing quality English youngsters, and have proved to be more than willing to look beyond our domestic leagues for the best young talent.

But this only goes to show what a good piece of business Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins and manager Michael Laudrup completed when they signed 21-year-old midfielder Jonjo Shelvey from Liverpool for a paltry fee of £5 million.

Considering that players like Spanish midfielders Asier Illarramendi and Isco Alarcon cost Real Madrid a total of almost 70 million euros, Shelvey could be one of the bargain signings of the summer (this is in no way a comparison of the players' abilities, just an indication of the exorbitant amounts of money that are being spent on young midfielders today). 

In the former Liverpool and Charlton Athletic midfielder, Laudrup has acquired the perfect combination of steely determination and sound technical ability in midfield, and Shelvey's tireless running, keen eye for a pass and ability to control the pace of the game will come in handy over the course of Swansea's season, especially after considering the fact that Laudrup's style of play predominantly revolves around a pass-and-move system.

Shelvey should prove to be the perfect foil for the more creative talents of Ki Sung-Yueng, Leon Britton and Jonathan de Guzman, and as Swansea juggle the responsibilities of the Premier League, the Europa League and domestic knockout competitions, he should find himself a regular starter for Laudrup. 

All in all, Swansea couldn't have signed a better player with that money, or one more suited to their immediate footballing needs.

This is not to say that Swansea are the only party that stand to benefit from one of the relatively low-key transfers of the summer.

In today's footballing culture where you are a star at 16, most players would be happy with the deal Shelvey had at Liverpool: a deal that involved representing one of the most storied clubs in English football and warming the bench for large parts of the season. 

However, in a move that likens him in attitude to Steven Gerrard, his captain at Liverpool and the man whose footballing shadow he has stepped out of, Jonjo Shelvey weighed his options carefully and ended up choosing the chance to play football on a regular basis rather than resigning himself to warming the bench at Anfield and wasting the most productive years of his career.

For a 21-year-old player looking to establish himself in the Premier League, every year is important, but arguably none more so than the season preceding the quadrennial footballing extravaganza, the FIFA World Cup. Shelvey has yet to fully make his presence in Roy Hodgson's plans for next summer felt, and has only one senior England appearance to his name to date (he came on as a substitute against San Marino in October 2012). 

This makes his decision to move clubs look like an absolutely inspired one, as Swansea will offer him the chance to play a solid 40 to 50 games a season in his preferred position. 

The Swans have just the play-off round between them and a berth in the group stages of the UEFA Europa League in the coming season, and this will give Shelvey the additional chance to prove himself against quality European opposition in attempt to catch the eye of Hodgson's coaching staff. Liverpool meanwhile will not be appearing in European competitions this season. 

The England national team is undoubtedly going through a stage of transition as the ageing generation of Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, Scott Parker and Michael Carrick are unlikely to feature regularly beyond the World Cup, and this represents possibly the best chance that Shelvey will have of staking his claim to one of the spots that will made available in the national team's midfield. 

Over the next three to five years, Hodgson will be faced with the daunting task of building the national team from scratch, and - thanks to his move to Swansea - Shelvey stands a better chance than many of rising from the general squalor that is the English youth setup to emerge as a genuine first-team player for the Three Lions.

It is still early days in the midfielder's Swansea career, but he has already received glowing praise from Laudrup for his assured display in the 4-0 win over Malmo in the third qualifying round of the Europa League, and if he can maintain the level of his recent performances, Roy Hodgson will be forced to sit up and take serious note of Jonjo Shelvey as he prepares for the Three Lions' World Cup campaign.

 

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Topics:
Premier League
Football
Swansea City
Jonjo Shelvey