We're used to the idea of footballers getting all uppity when they don't get playing time, which is probably why Nicolas Anelka comes off as refreshingly laid back rather than just lazy when he says he doesn't much mind Carlo Ancelotti's policy of rotating the four strikers at his disposal. Since the acquisition of Fernando Torres at the end of January, the French striker, who remains Chelsea's leading scorer this season, has found consistent starts much harder to come by.
When asked if he was frustrated that he wasn't getting as much playing time as he's been used to, Anelka essentially said he didn't much care and that being benched is 'part of the game'
No. It is frustrating when you are 20 years old; when you are 32, not any more. Sometimes you are not happy because you want to play but you have to understand it's part of the game and we have big players.
When you're a manager it is even more difficult than playing because you have to keep everybody happy and make choices. I know I won't be a manager, I don't want to do it, never. You have to make everybody else happy also and, like I said, if you are 20, you don't understand this rotation but, if you are 32, I won't say you have nothing to prove but you have the experience to understand.
-Nicolas Anelka. Source: Guardian.
While personally I'm totally ok with a footballer coming across as lackadaisical, most fans are more demanding of whether or not a player comes across as caring. We've already seen Anelka slated this year for a perceived lack of effort (including, ludicrously, the penalty he had saved against Everton in the FA Cup), but public demeanour isn't really coupled with on-field performance, which should be all we really care about.
But anyway, I'm glad Anelka does have such a fragile ego that he'll put up a fuss open being benched. Because realistically, if Chelsea play with two strikers, it'll be pretty difficult to get everyone on the field at once. At least there won't be any dressing room unrest from Nico - from the sounds of things he'll be more busy napping.
Anyway, what does everyone else think of the way Carlo's been handling his strikers? Is it working? Why isn't he doing this with, say, his midfielders?