LUCAS LEIVA has backed Jonjo Shelvey to become a regular feature for Liverpool this coming season – and is ready to help the youngster realise his potential.
Shelvey has become an increasingly integral part of the matchday squad since joining from Charlton Athletic in May 2010, with his progress earing the central midfielder a new long-term contract.
The 20-year-old, who has made 37 appearances for the Anfield outfit, started Liverpool’s last four Premier League matches of last season and scored a memorable goal in the 4-1 triumph over Chelsea at Anfield in May.
Shelvey was part of the summer tour of North America and, with the likes of Steven Gerrard and Jordan Henderson only recently back in training, is expected to start new manager Brendan Rodgers’ first competitive match in Liverpool’s Europa League third qualifying round first leg tie in Belarus against FC Gomel on Thursday.
And Lucas, who made his long-awaited return to action last week, is backing Shelvey to succeed.
“Jonjo is a young player, but he’s been with us for two or three season so we have seen every day he has a lot of quality and I think he will be a very good player for this club,”said the Brazilian.
“He has been very impressive in pre-season and I am looking forward to helping him when he wants me to. Hopefully he will be a great addition this season.
“My advice to him would be just to keep working hard and when he gets a chance, to try and take it.
“He has a little bit of experience already and played a few games last season, so I think he won’t have a problem when he has his chance – and I will try to help him on the pitch.”
Lucas, absent since last November following a serious cruciate ligament injury, figured in the recent friendly games against Toronto, Roma and Tottenham Hotspur.