2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™

14 June - 15 July

2018 FIFA World Cup™ 

Cottee: England don’t have a better passer than Shelvey

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  • Tony Cottee makes argument for Jonjo Shelvey's inclusion in England's World Cup squad
  • The former England international on Shelvey: "He is probably the best English passer"
  • Shelvey has been in superb form for Newcastle United this year

Tony Cottee has become the latest former England international to urge Gareth Southgate to take Jonjo Shelvey to the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™.

The 26-year-old midfielder, renowned for his quarterback passes, won the last of his six caps in late 2015, but has been in superb form for Newcastle United this year.

“Whoever you name that's been in that England squad, there isn't anyone who can pass the ball better than Shelvey," Cottee told Sky Sports. "You need a Wilshere in the team, or a Shelvey, who can open up defences. You don't want loads of workmanlike midfielders who don't create and pass the ball.

"[Shelvey] is probably the best English passer, in terms of passing it 40-50 yards. That's not smashing the ball forward – that's quality passing.

“What you need to do with him is get some legs around him in the team, if he's going to spread the ball around, but I think he would give the squad something different."

Paul Ince, Paul Merson, Alan Shearer and Chris Waddle have all recently called for Shelvey to be taken to Russia 2018.

After naming his squad for England’s friendlies with Germany in Brazil in November, Southgate said of the former Liverpool man’s exclusion: “I think Jonjo is a different type of player – [he] plays deeper, receives [the ball] very deep, plays almost in a quarterback position for his club. We were needing something a little bit different for these games.”

Will Shelvey’s superb form, which continued in a 2-1 win over Arsenal on Sunday, cause the 47-year-old to reconsider?

Lewis Cook, Eric Dier, Jordan Henderson, Adam Lallana, Jake Livermore and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were the central midfielders in his latest England squad.

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