Shelvey just needs polish
AFTER a weekend dominated by controversy over diving, poor refereeing and low-scoring games, it was a pleasure to sit through 90 minutes of brilliant football on Monday.
Swansea City's 2-2 draw against Liverpool was a reminder of why we all love the beautiful game.
Two teams playing stylish attacking football with no shortage of grit and physicality.
While every single Swan deserved great credit for their individual performances, one name was at the centre of every post-match discussion.
For me Jonjo Shelvey's Jekyll and Hyde performance against his former club summed up both his qualities and his weaknesses.
In just the second minute he persevered despite numerous attempts to dispossess him and got the goal his efforts merited.
But less than two minutes later he displayed the wilder side of his game, blindly passing the ball in Michel Vorm's direction only for Daniel Sturridge to pick it up and equalise Liverpool.
It got worse for Shelvey on 36 minutes when he once again sent a careless pass straight to Victor Moses. The debutant went on to plant his strike in the bottom corner of Vorm's net.
At this point it seemed clear why Liverpool let the youngster go in the summer. His lack of care while in possession and his thoughtless passing left the home fans stunned.
But Shelvey showed his strength of personality in returning after the break a changed player.
Suddenly he was passing well, creating chances and taking control of midfield.
His run and header set up Michu for the equaliser, and by the exuberance of his celebration one would have thought it was Shelvey with his name on the scoresheet and not the Spaniard.
Shelvey showed signs of immaturity and recklessness on Monday night, but he also showed inspirational determination and flashes of brilliance.
The midfielder is a bag of enthusiasm and his willingness to prove the doubters wrong was visible for all to see against Liverpool.
If he can channel his emotions, apply some polish to his game and take more care of the ball in his own half then Swansea will have a formidable footballer in their ranks.
The Swans now look ahead to tomorrow's big Europa League clash at Valencia.
The domineering Mestalla should be a fine setting for the opening game of the competition's group stage.
Valencia may have had an uneasy start to the season following the sale of Roberto Soldado, but they remain a formidable force.
The energy-sapping match against Liverpool could take its toll on Swansea's players, but hopefully they can overcome any tiredness in the legs.
Good luck to the Swans in Valencia. If the fans can represent the club in the same way as they did away in Malmö, they will make many friends on the Costa Blanca.