This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…
Chelsea midfielder Jorginho continues his transformation from scapegoat to hero.
After joining the Blues last summer following Maurizio Sarri’s move to Stamford Bridge, the 27-year-old had a difficult first season, even being booed on occasion. This time around, though, he is enjoying an excellent campaign, scoring once and laying on one assist.
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He is clearly an important member of Frank Lampard’s plans too following his recent appointment as the club’s vice-captain.
Which is why the boss will no doubt be frustrated by recent comments from the player’s agent. Talking to Radio Sportiva, he said that Jorginho’s desire to return to Italy will “always be there”, and that he could play for “two or three” Scudetto challengers were he to return.
Last season, these quotes would have been expected, but it is obviously a different story now. There are plenty of reasons, after all, as to why Lampard has entrusted him to be Cesar Azpilicueta’s deputy.
There may be talent in the Blues’ midfield, but there is not much leadership, unfortunately. N’Golo Kante is a fantastic footballer and is an example due to his workrate, but he is quiet when it comes to instructing his teammates, whilst Ross Barkley will “never develop leadership” according to previous boss Sarri. Others, such as Mateo Kovacic, do not possess those traits either.
As the former Derby County boss looks to blood the club’s youngsters into the starting line-up, Jorginho has become one of the more experienced and senior heads in the dressing room. Only Azpilicueta, N’Golo Kante and Willian amongst the regular starters are older than him.
His influence on the pitch is truly telling, and Lampard has explained why he sees him as a potential skipper.
He recently said of the 27-year-old: “He’s a leader in his personality. Whatever happened last year, I wasn’t here. For whatever reason, people will make judgements, but all I can judge is what I see in front of me and from pre-season he has been one of the leaders, clearly, in the dressing room and on the pitch.”
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He also praised his voice on the field, saying: “His attitude in training has also been first class. He’s a driver of a session. He’s a voice. He runs, he pushes people around him, he drags people up when he doesn’t feel they’re working as much as he might want – and I’ve loved seeing that.”
This is why the 41-year-old manager will be worried to hear these comments emerge. The Brazilian-born star is vital to his side and also allows those around him to blossom. And his “voice” in particular, is essential.
Look back at some of the best teams in Premier League history, and you will see a running theme. Manchester United had Roy Keane, Arsenal had Patrick Vieira, Liverpool had Steven Gerrard and Chelsea had Lampard himself. All different players, but they all had one thing in common: their presence on the field, with them always prepared to instruct from the middle of the park, despite not all of them being the appointed captain.
The lack of Jorginho’s leadership in an influential position on the field would be a damaging blow to the future plans of the team, therefore. These type of players, who are so willing to step up and be counted, do not grow on trees. Lampard will be hoping these are nothing but empty words.