Liverpool's Jonjo Shelvey wins League's young player award

By Paul FletcherBBC Sport

Liverpool midfielder Jonjo Shelvey has set his sights on a first-team spot at Anfield after winning the Football League's young player of the month award while on loan at Blackpool.

The 19-year-old won November's award after scoring four goals in five games.

"I have got to try to force my way into the Liverpool team and stay there," Shelvey said. "I feel this is a good chance for me to kick on.

"Being at Blackpool has helped get me back into Liverpool's plans."

Shelvey was recalled by the Reds at the end of November after a season-ending injury to Lucas Leiva and played for three minutes as a substitute at the end of Saturday's victory over QPR.

With Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard still on the sidelines and midfielder Jay Spearing missing the next two games through suspension, Essex-born Shelvey is keen to make the most of the opportunity.

The former Charlton man, who joined Liverpool for an initial £1.7m in May 2010, added: "There is only so much I can do on and off the pitch - selection is down to [manager] Kenny Dalglish but, if he does come calling, I will be ready - and hopefully I can take my chance.

"I think that going out on loan has helped me get my confidence back up and I think I am showing that in training back here."

Shelvey made the loan move to the Seasiders at the end of September after asking Dalglish if he could leave Anfield temporarily in search of first-team football.

"When you are not playing at Liverpool it gets you down, and you sometimes need to go away and play games," he said.

He scored six goals in 10 games during the full spell, including a hat-trick in a stunning 5-0 win at Leeds.

And he is adamant his spell at Bloomfield Road also helped him sharpen his match fitness after finding his route to the first team at Anfield blocked.

Shelvey said: "Every time you play you get sharper - it brings you half a yard closer to the ball and you no longer feel sluggish.

"Blackpool is a great club to play for and the attacking way they play suited me down to the ground."

Seasiders boss Ian Holloway said Shelvey's performances for the Championship club had given everyone at the club a lift.

"He was fantastic," Holloway said. "He had a lot of frustration when he first came.

"I think he has all sorts of talent and will never lose that. Hopefully he will get the chance to use that and shine because he really suited us.

"The boy is good enough to play anywhere and in our system floating in off the right he was dynamic. He has gone a long way to giving us some confidence and making us realise we can win some games.

"I hope his career goes from strength to strength."

Liverpool play Aston Villa at Villa Park on Sunday, marking the start of a sequence of five top-flight games in 16 days over the festive period.

Shelvey's only appearance this season prior to his loan move was as a late substitute in the 3-1 Carling Cup win at Exeter on 24 August.

He made 21 appearances during the 2010-11 season, but just four were starts and he failed to score.

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