Newcastle star Jonjo Shelvey has suggested that his bad boy reputation has prevented him from getting picked for England duty more regularly despite the Three Lions' need for central midfielder of his ilk.
As quoted by the Daily Mail, the 25-year-old former Liverpool player is adamant that his position is one of the weaker areas in Gareth Southgate's side, but he admits he is unlikely to receive an advance on his six England caps in the near future.
"If you look at the competition, we're crying out for a central midfielder for our country, in my opinion," Shelvey said.
"But it's just a matter of saying the right things in the press and things like that, that's what it goes on these days. It's so fickle, if you like. All I can do is just show in my performances that I warrant a place in the England team."
Shelvey was formally charged and fined by the FA for
"Were there any lessons to be learned, then, from the travails of the racism row? "No, because I didn't say what it was printed out to be," he claimed.
"If it was in any court of law, I would have been found not guilty. It just goes on the panel's verdict. You just have to deal with it and get on with it.
"I'm not going to sit around and cry about things. It's gutting when you don't get picked (for England) or nasty things are said about you, but that's life - it's about how you deal with it."
Newcastle have continued to back their box-to-box midfielder, in spite of controversy and Shelvey proved himself one of the Championship's finest players last season. He will soon find himself in the spotlight again back in the Premier League, but whether the England set-up under Gareth Southgate will be paying close attention is still very much a matter for debate.