Waddle - who represented the Three Lions between 1985 and 1991 - says that Gareth Southgate's team require added quality in the centre of the park, and has suggested that Shelvey is the man to solve the problems in midfield.
The 56-year-old told BBC Radio 5 live: "People knock me down when I say it, but Jonjo Shelvey is the best I've seen at passing the ball at distance, but he won't get in the squad for reasons we don't know.
"Performances over the last two or three games are not good enough to do well in Russia. There is a lot of work to be done. We definitely need to find a quality midfield player who has got a range of passing which can help this side.
"Going forward, I don't think England are too bad, but they need supply."
Shelvey - who impressed in Newcastle's 1-1 draw with Liverpool last weekend - won the last of his six caps in 2015.