As the internet began to shut down on Sunday night, it was difficult to imagine a Chelsea team without club stalwart John Terry.
The news began to filter in, and after half an hour it was everywhere – CNN, BBC, Sky Sports – you name it, everyone was talking about John Terry’s due departure at the end of the season.
There was a mixed reaction from fans across the world. Some exclaimed Terry wasn’t the same player anymore and it was time to move on whereas some Chelsea supporters began the mourning of their long-term leader.
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So much of his good play has been behind the recent success Chelsea have had, but it is time for the Blues to develop a new talent into a first-team star.
Like it or not, Terry has not been the same player this season and for the first time in his career, he has shown his age. It’s difficult to ignore that the former England man is now 35-years-old and will not be at the same level as Kurt Zouma for example, who has firmly solidified his place in the Blues’ line-up this season.
But there is a new boy on the block, and his name is Matt Miazga.
The 20-year-old arrived from the New York Red Bulls last week, and has signed a four-and-a-half-year contract with the Blues.
He was brought up in New Jersey and joined the Red Bulls academy in 2009. After winning the Academy Championship with their U16s in 2012, the club’s sporting director singled him out as one of the best prospects in American football.
34 appearances and a grilling from team-mate Thierry Henry later, Miazga is now one of the highest ranked youngsters in America, and that has quickly been rewarded by Chelsea.
But the question on everyone’s lips is whether or not Miazga can step up and potentially take John Terry’s place in the Chelsea first team.
S what is it about the 20-year-old that sets him apart from others?
The first thing is his height- at 6ft 4”, he’s a tall young man which means he should be able to handle the physicality of English football.
He particularly impressed in the NYCFC derby, where he was tasked to keep David Villa as quiet as possible. He succeeded, showing his prowess in the air and his solid positioning- after all, Villa has played at the top for nearly two decades now and it was no mean feat.
He also impressed in the Red Bulls’ game against Toronto FC, where he kept the talented Sebastian Giovinco quiet most of the game.
But let us not forget – he is a long-term project and he will not single-handedly turn the Blues’ fortunes around. It is predicted that he will be loaned out at the end of the season, but in-between now and then, Miazga has the chance to impress the Chelsea coaches.
The only concern is the amount of young talent that Chelsea already have in that area. Nathan Ake, Tomas Kalas, Kenneth Omeruo and Andreas Christiansen will all be competing for game time in the next couple of years, so the race is on.
If he works hard, improves and performs well when given the chance he has every chance of becoming the next long-serving legacy at Stamford Bridge.
After all, they need a new hero.