14:46 8th July 2013
. . . new boy Shelvey delighted with welcome
New boy Jonjo Shelvey has praised his new team-mates for a “first-class welcome" into the Swansea City fold.
Shelvey joined up with the Swans a day into their pre-season tour of Holland and played 45 minutes in both friendly victories over FC Gravenzande and Excelsior.
“It’s always a nervous time joining a new club,’’ admitted Shelvey, who impressed in both games. “It was the same when I went from Charlton to Liverpool; then to Blackpool on loan and now Swansea.
“You don’t know what to expect meeting the players for the first time, even down to the staff.
“But I have learnt that you can’t be negative; you’ve got to be positive and confident in order to show your character and ability.
“In fairness to the boys here, they welcomed me in straight away. They were having dinner at the hotel when I arrived and they all got up to shake my hand and welcome me to the club.
“I had heard that Swansea was a friendly club. I spoke to Joe Allen just before I signed and he had nothing but good things to say about the club and the fans. Brendan Rodgers and Colin Pascoe were exactly the same.
“The fans seem passionate as well. Less than two hours after I had agreed to sign, people were coming up to me in the local Sainsbury's in Swansea for autographs and pictures. They were all very welcoming, which was great.’’
No sooner had Shelvey settled in out in Holland, it was off to the training ground for the first of the daily double sessions.
“It’s been hard,’’ admitted the 21-year-old. “Although you are only off for a few weeks in the summer, it still takes time for the muscles to get going again.
“The running sessions are the toughest. But it has to be done because that’s part of the job and there’s nothing better than being out there on the pitch playing football.’’
After impressing in both friendly wins over FC Gravenzande and Excelsior, the squad were up early for their morning training session on Monday – a pure running session that involved six 1km runs within a set time-frame.
It even prompted Shelvey to Tweet afterwards: “That was the hardest session of my life.”
But there’s no gain without pain and Shelvey believes it is a price worth paying to help the Swans maintain their top-10 status in the Barclays Premier League, while also progressing through the Europa League stages.
“I’m looking forward to being part of it,’’ added the England international. “I watched Swansea play a lot in the Premier League. The way they play football excites me and I can’t wait to be part of it.
“When I spoke to the Swansea chairman he said they had been tracking me from my Charlton days. I also heard of a link when Joe Allen was going to Liverpool, but that never happened.
“It raised its head again over the summer and I was following it in the papers every morning while on holiday until it happened for real.’’
Having welcomed Shelvey into the fold, his new team-mates have already turned to their new colleague for advice on life in the Europa League after his experience with Liverpool.
“I’ve played European football for the last two seasons,’’ added Shelvey. “It’s exciting for the fans and I’m sure the atmosphere will be buzzing at the Liberty for the night games.
“It will also give the players experience of going to different countries and facing different styles of play.’’
If he’s recovered from Monday morning’s running session that is!