Jonjo Shelvey declined to join England Under-21s, Roy Hodgson says
Roy Hodgson says Jonjo Shelvey rejected the chance to play for the England Under-21 side.
England manager Hodgson named Shelvey in his squad for the upcoming qualifiers against San Marino and Estonia on Thursday.
If Shelvey plays in either match, it will be the first time he has represented his country at any level since August 2013, when he captained the Under-21s to a 6-0 victory over Scotland.
Although Shelvey is a regular with Swansea -- and he is still eligible to play for the Under-21s -- coach Gareth Southgate has not selected the midfielder for the Young Lions, and Hodgson has now shed light on why.
Hodgson said Shelvey was "reticent" to play because he felt, after earning his first full cap in 2012, that he should not be made to return to the Under-21 set-up.
"He played for the Under-21s and captained them against Scotland," said Hodgson, who took charge of the Young Lions for that one game before Southgate was appointed.
"I believe Gareth spoke to him and he was reticent, maybe, to play in a game or two [for the Under-21s] and as a result Gareth chose other people, as he's quite entitled to do. He's got competition for places himself.
"It may be that Jonjo had already played for the first national team, so he would have been asked, if you like, at Under-21 level to step back down after, in his eyes, stepping up."
FA officials claimed shortly after Hodgson's comments, which were made at a news conference at Wembley, that Shelvey did not tell Southgate he was unavailable for Under-21 duty.
"I advised Gareth to have a conversation with him and to make certain that he was going to be 100 percent on board," Hodgson said earlier. "I don't know the details of that conversation, it was a long time ago and I'd rather you discussed it with Gareth because he had the conversation.
"If he did turn him down he wouldn't be the first player who's done that. I've had players who turned down first team national places, which I keep to myself!''
Hodgson used to manage Shelvey at Liverpool, where he played until last summer's transfer to Swansea. The England boss challenged the 22-year-old to earn a regular place in the squad, which is short on central midfielders following the retirements of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard.
Hodgson added: "Even last year he was always in our thoughts but then we had Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard, who were similar sorts of midfield players in the central area. Now the competition is less strong and has started the season very well.
"I know his qualities as a player as I worked with him and now it's a good moment to come into the squad and show me and the rest of these players: 'This is where I belong.'"
Swansea boss Garry Monk said Shelvey can have a long, successful international career.
"It has come in a roundabout way for him, he could have done it for Liverpool but he can do it for England," Monk said. "He left Liverpool and came to us and it's now another route for him.
"You just have to make sure when that happens to a player they don't lose sight of what they are trying to be, which is to be the best player they can be. It has to be the aim. All they can do is improve and hopefully this will be a good confidence boost for him, a realisation that you have got the chance and that is in your hands. You have to make the most of these chances, especially playing for your country."