Young Lions and Liverpool ace reflects on his experiences so far.
By Nicholas Veevers
England U19 captain Jonjo Shelvey is preparing himself for a European battle of a different kind on Wednesday, as he is likely to feature from the start for Liverpool in their Europa League tie against Utrecht at Anfield.
The Reds have already secured their progress to the next stage from their qualification group and manager Roy Hodgson is expected to give some of his younger players more of a taste of the European scene.
Of course, Shelvey is no stranger to international football himself, having been a regular for the Young Lions at U16, U17 and U19 level over the last couple of years and even captaining England during their European U19 Championship First Qualifying Round in October.
Now he wants to perform on a bigger stage and there’s not many stadiums that are as magical as Anfield on one of its famous nights in Europe.
"It's a big game for us young lads," said Shelvey, who joined Liverpool from Charlton Athletic earlier this year.
"It's another chance to leave an impression on the boss's mind. Hopefully I'll get a start and I can show him what I can do again.
"It's on television and you want to go out there and show people what you're capable of and why a club has bought you."
The Essex-born midfielder had already gained a lot of experience for one so young before making the switch to Merseyside after playing in more than 40 games for Charlton. Along with his England caps, he has also sampled the difference between domestic and continental football.
That no doubt helped him deal with the transition when first selected for the Reds in Europe, where he made his full debut for Hodgson’s men in their game with Napoli in October.
"The games are totally different," he explained to Liverpoolfc.tv in relation to his international experiences.
"There are a lot better technical players and, no disrespect to the lower leagues, but the ball is always in the air. You're always using your head or just hooking things on. In Europe, you can get the ball down and play football.
"You have to be very tactical in Europe, you have to know when to press and know when not to.”
For a player who doesn’t turn 19 until February, Shelvey certainly doesn’t suffer from a shortage of ambition and he hopes his performances will be able to catch the eye enough to ensure he gets more opportunities in the future.
"I should be pushing more and more," he admitted. "I can feel myself getting better in training each day so hopefully I can get a starting place in the team and keep hold of it.
"Obviously you know you're not going to start sometimes but you've got to leave yourself in the boss's mind.
"When I go away with England and people find out they're not starting - their heads drop. You can't afford to do that in football. You have to be 100 per cent on the ball.
"Obviously you're disappointed when you're not in the matchday squad. There is nothing worse than not playing football, but you're training the next day - you're still playing. You have to put the disappointment to one side. I'm only young, only 18. The football will come eventually."