IAN Holloway has admitted he is gutted to be losing Jonjo Shelvey, a player he believes is destined for the very top.
Liverpool hit the Seasiders with the bombshell news that they were recalling the 19-year-old after discovering that Brazilian midfielder Lucas will be sidelined for six months with a knee injury.
Lucas picked up the injury in Tuesday’s Carling Cup win at Chelsea and Liverpool need Shelvey as cover.
Holloway is disappointed to say the least. Shelvey had scored six goals in nine games and talks about keeping him at Bloomfield Road for the remainder of the season were, according to Pool, at “an advanced stage”.
The boss, though, is pleased that he has played a small part in Shelvey’s development this year.
Holloway said: “It is a shame (he has to go back) because Liverpool are playing exceptionally well, and I had been hoping that might leave an opportunity for us to keep Jonjo until the end of the season.
“All I know is that Jonjo is a fantastic young man who has all sorts of ability. I have no doubts whatsoever he will be a top, top player.
“He is already at a top, top club and he had been helping us try to get back to where we want to get – the Premier League. I think he had improved as a player in the time he’s been here and that pleases me.
“Our fans were enjoying watching him play, and he had a great following among our supporters, despite the fact he had only been here for a couple of months. Jonjo is English and he gives us English people hope that we might have a half-decent national team for the future.
“I just hope he is involved (at Liverpool), because when someone invests that amount of money in a lad so early (he signed for £1.7m from Charlton in summer 2010), they often end up getting stacked and racked and lost.”
Shelvey’s absence throughout a busy December is a major blow, though there are plenty of other options in attack.”