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Why we've signed a top talent

Liverpoolfc.tv enlisted the help of Glenn Southam from independent fansite Charltonlife.com to get the lowdown on our new midfielder.

Jonjo has been described as one of the best young talents in England - is that a fair hype?

The hype Jonjo has had attributed to him is very fair indeed. His raw talent is there for all to see, even if us Charlton fans have only seen it in glimpses throughout his short career. Having watched him in the Charlton and England youth setup, he is usually a cut above the rest and has always been 'advanced' beyond his years.

What are his main attributes?

He is tenacious, hard working and very willing to get stuck in. He has excellent vision and is able to see a pass earlier than most. He makes many late runs into the box a la Paul Scholes/Tim Cahill, but he also has the ability to shoot from distance. He simply loves playing football and is always going to give 110 per cent whether it is a training match or in front of 50,000 people.

What type of lad is he?

Shy and unassuming off the pitch, enthusiastic and determined on it. His head is screwed on and has a great family behind him which was demonstrated when he signed his pro contract with us rather than running off to Chelsea for the big bucks early on. There are times when he can be rash in the tackle but this is purely down to youthful exuberance.

Which current Barclays Premier League midfielder would you most liken him to?

His attacking ability and desire to drive forward suit him more to an attacking midfielder. Out of current players he is most similar to your own Steven Gerrard - I think Jonjo has even said he models himself on your captain.

Charlton have had some good young talents in the past, notably Scott Parker - where would you rank Shelvey amongst those types of names? Is he your best ever product?

It is very difficult to answer this question as we simply have not had the chance to see him play in the first team as much. Parker performed consistently at the highest level for us in the Barclays Premier League. We will only know whether he is our best ever product in a few years' time. We have had some great talent come through our system who are still plying their trade at the highest level - Scott Parker, Jermaine Defoe, Lee Bowyer, Paul Konchesky, Michael Turner to name a few. Will Jonjo be even better? Maybe. My gut feeling is that he can be better than Parker as he has all the same attributes - but can score more goals.

How disappointed are you to see him leave?

Of course we are disappointed to see him go, but what hurts/angers people more is that we have not seen as much of Jonjo in the red of Charlton as we would have liked. He simply has not played much for us - whether that is for tactical reasons or, in a strange way, he is just too good for Charlton at the moment. Gone are the days when Charlton could stave off the advances of clubs like Liverpool but we wish Jonjo all the best. I just wish we could have seen more of him as he is going to be a special, special talent.

How much will training with the likes of Steven Gerrard and Javier Mascherano improve him?

He might teach them a few things! Seriously though, it can only help his development. He has the natural talent but being around world class players is just going to improve his game. No disrespect to the current Charlton players but they are just not on the same wavelength as Jonjo in terms of vision and ability - I think you'll see him flourish into something special.

What did you make of him the first time you saw him play?

I have seen him play for the Charlton and England youth set-ups and he was superb, but when he made his debut against Coventry as a 16 year old I honestly cannot remember a Charlton player dominating a midfield as much as he did (since Parker did the same against Chelsea on Boxing Day years ago!). He was superb.

How has he matured?

Jonjo is still a raw talent and this is still evident in a lot of his play but he has become more aware of his role in the team. There's still plenty of room to learn the 'tactical' side of the game and I'm sure he will.

What do you regard as your best memory of him?

It has to be that Coventry game. He was everywhere on the pitch and was superb. It was the moment when I think all Charlton fans thought "We've got a real player here".

Is he destined to become one of the Barclays Premier League's best?

Probably a bit too early to tell at the moment but he needs to be given the chance and after that his skills will come to the forefront. His passion and determination to be great really stands out - he is not going to be distracted or become a prima donna, he just wants to play. With good development and regular chances there is no reason he cannot be a regular in the PL for years to come.

And a full England international?

As above but why not? He has been involved in the England set up at all age groups. I think the move to Liverpool will see him join up with the U21s in the near future and then we'll see. There are a lot of good midfielders around at the moment and he may have to wait for his chance.

And finally, where do you see him in five years time?

I think I speak for all Charlton fans when I say we want to see him as successful as he possibly can be at Liverpool. With enough chances and guidance at Anfield I see him as a natural long-term successor to Gerrard in the current set up. There is no reason why he couldn't be gearing up for the 2014 World Cup trying to retain the trophy for England!

Author: Paul Hassall

Copyright - Liverpoolfc.tv

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