Chelsea Echo competition winner Tomas Black gave us his thoughts below on the need for a leader in the current Chelsea team. Enjoy!
Since the departure of John Terry two years ago, one thing that’s stood out at Chelsea Football Club is our lack of leadership within the dressing room. The presence of a real leader, someone who simply won’t take losing, is something that hasn’t been a thing at Chelsea for years, which is why I’m writing this article today, to show my frustration of no real leader within the squad and what can be done to fix this problem.
The difference between leaders in our squad now and during our title-winning season in 2005/2006 is unbelievable. To put it into perspective, in our 2005/2006 season, our leaders consisted of players like Terry, Lampard, Drogba, Petr Cech, and even Joe Cole. These were players that would not only take losing but showed an unbelievable amount of passion towards the club. Who do we class as a leader in our squad now? Azpilicueta? It’s clear the decline in players that at least care slightly about the club has been staggering.
As I’ve hinted at earlier in the article, by reading this, it’s clear what I think of the players in our current squad. Spineless. For me, the only player in our current squad that cares about the club is Eden Hazard, he naturally just isn’t a captain or a leader. Jorginho does tend to dictate the game and tell players what to do/where to be during games but I’m not sure if he’s captain material just yet, we’ll have to see over the next few seasons. Dave isn’t fit to captain this club either, my reasoning behind this? His antics in the Carabao Cup final earlier this season. When Kepa has his misunderstanding with Sarri, not once did Azpilicueta go over to Kepa to tell him the correct thing to do, which was to leave the pitch. If this incident happened while Terry and Lampard were still playing…Actually, scrap that, this incident wouldn’t have even occurred 13 years ago as almost all players would’ve demanded that Kepa leaves the field.
One thing the ‘Old Guard’ did show while playing for Chelsea was respect towards the manager, whether they liked him or not. In that Carabao Cup final match, instead of respecting that Sarri was furious over the Kepa incident, Dave decided to start an argument with Sarri and defend Kepa. This type of behaviour wouldn’t have been acceptable 13 years ago and shouldn’t be acceptable now.
One other player that does offer leadership qualities within the squad is David Luiz, the only problem is, he only shows those qualities on big match days. Luiz was absolutely brilliant on and off the ball during our home win over Manchester City earlier in the season, but in 90% of other games, he simply hasn’t looked too bothered. If Luiz could keep those leadership qualities he showed against City, he’d be my choice for captain.
So, how do we solve this dilemma at the club? For me, by starting to include youth into more games would be a very positive start. By playing more youth, you then get players that genuinely care about the club, players who’d put their body on the line for the club. Our greatest ever leader, John Terry, was once a youth product at Chelsea, and a boy who bled (and still bleeds) Blue. As I said, by playing youth, you get players who’ve grown up supporting the Club which then leads to passionate players who wouldn’t stand to let the fans down, because they know what it’s like to be a fan of this club. I believe by slowly bringing Fikayo Tomori and Reece James into matches next season, we’ll see them grow into real Chelsea men who’ll lead the club back to its usual winning ways.
My one other solution to this problem is by bringing the ‘Old Guard’ back as either coaches or technical staff. For me, this is a great idea as they’d be on the same page as us fans and would understand what needs to be done to succeed, they wouldn’t be afraid to tell the hierarchy either. The news that Cech could possibly be returning as part of the technical staff is amazing, because like I said, he has a real love for the club and understands our current problems and what needs to change for those problems to be fixed.
As for now anyway, we’ll just have to hope that some of the current players pull their socks up and realize what it means to play for the club, and for the fans.
Written by Tom Black. @TomasBlackCFC