JONJO SHELVEY has hailed England and Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard as his ‘perfect role model’ – and will be able to call on him for even more advice after becoming his new next-door neighbour.
Reds midfielder Shelvey – who scored last night in England Under-21s’ comfortable 4-0 friendly win over Sweden – has just bought a house alongside the player he has always looked up to at Anfield.
He believes Gerrard fully deserved his FA England Player of the Year award and that he can only benefit from playing alongside the 32-year-old.
Shelvey said: “Steven has been first-class with me ever since I came into the club.
“I’ve moved in next door to him now which is even better because if you need any advice, he is always there.
“I get to see him quite a bit. I’ve not popped around for a cup of tea yet but he is always welcome to come around for a game of pool.
“He is just a great role model to learn from. You can’t say enough about Stevie. He does his talking on and off the pitch. He lives the life of a proper professional footballer.
“His performances have been first-class and he has been my perfect role model since day one and someone every young player can learn from. He fully deserved his England award.”
Shelvey believes Liverpool are starting to move in the right direction under Brendan Rodgers and is encouraged by the recent draws with Arsenal and Manchester City.
He said: “Things have now swayed towards one of our biggest rivals in Manchester United but we are pushing for fourth spot so we are trying to win every game.
“We felt we deserved to beat City but I think the title has gone towards United. There is still plenty of football to go though.
“We are still going to keep pushing for fourth place. Brendan is starting to really get his point across and it is starting to show in our performances.
“We had a blip at Oldham in the FA Cup but in the last two league games against Arsenal and Manchester City we’ve played really well and deserved to get six points.
“There have been steps in the right direction. In the past few weeks, we’ve gone on quite a run in the Premier League.”
Shelvey also believes it is only a matter of time before Reds striker Daniel Sturridge becomes an England regular despite having to withdraw from tonight’s international against Brazil through injury.
He said: “Since Daniel has come in, he has been so first-class. He is so sharp in and around the box.
“With his performances at Liverpool, he will start to get recognition and become a regular international as well.”