Jonjo Shelvey of Newcastle in action against Liverpool
Pundit Danny Mills has told BBC Radio Five Live that he doesn't think England have any creative midfielders – and wrote off Jonjo Shelvey's international hopes in the process.
England qualified for the World Cup in Russia with an unconvincing 1-0 win over Slovenia on Thursday night, as Harry Kane's injury-time winner gave Gareth Southgate all three points at Wembley Stadium.
Southgate decided to experiment with his side for Sunday's trip to Lithuania, going with a 3-4-2-1 system featuring a host of fringe players, such as Kieran Trippier, Michael Keane, Harry Maguire, Aaron Cresswell and Harry Winks.
However, it was much of the same for Southgate, as England laboured to a 1-0 win in Vilnius, as Kane's first-half penalty proved to be the winner after Dele Alli had been fouled.
Few are excited about England's chances heading into the World Cup after two unconvincing displays against modest opposition, with many suggesting that the Three Lions don't possess enough creativity in midfield.
Tottenham's Harry Winks showed promise against Lithuania but is still inexperienced, and pundit Danny Mills has now suggested to BBC Radio Five Live that Southgate doesn't have any creative players at his disposal right now.
Mills was asked for his views on Nathaniel Chalobah, Jonjo Shelvey, Danny Drinkwater, James Ward-Prowse, Fabian Delph, Michael Carrick, Jake Livermore and Jack Cork, but wrote all of them off from being difference makers for England.
“None of them are creative players,” said Mills. “They're all midfield players. Dele Alli is not a creative No. 10, he's a strong runner with the ball, he's powerful, he gets into the box. We've got a lot of those players sat in that area, but who is the player who can play that killer box, do something a little bit different?”
“This is who Gareth has to pick from, so when people are saying that the team doesn't create, it isn't brilliant going forward, well you've got your hands tied behind your back because you can only pick English players,” he added.
Mills' comments haven't particularly gone down well with Newcastle fans, who have taken to Twitter to respond by stating that midfielder Shelvey is the only English player who can pick out a pass, and if he doesn't think Shelvey is creative, then Mills clearly doesn't watch Newcastle often enough.
shelvey not creative!!! Am I missing something???— Brett_Fabrik (@brettoddy) October 8, 2017
Shelvey has the ability to create a chance from very little. Hot head image stopping him from being selected.— Tom Merrett (@tomerrett) October 8, 2017
Shelvey isn't creative with a killer pass is he not??? pic.twitter.com/4qUyebbCg5— Burnsie (@BenArfaChance) October 8, 2017
Shelvey not creative ? Only player I can think of in England who can split a defence with a pass.— Dale Phair (@Dalephair) October 8, 2017
Jonjo all day long.— NEwcastle Un1teD-mAd (@shareefAminpour) October 8, 2017
Shelvey has a large number of flaws but not being creative isn't one of them.......— Paul McMahon (@paulmcmahon7) October 8, 2017