One storyline that got missed in the aftermath of Chelsea's win against Burnley on Monday was the fact that Marco van Ginkel, out for most of last season with an ACL injury, wasn't named in the squad. Van Ginkel, 21, might have expected to be named as a substitute given Ramires' suspension, but Jose Mourinho opted to name a pair of strikers on the bench instead. And if his agent isn't exaggerating, he's not thrilled about that:
We are in talks with Chelsea. Of course Marco wants to fight for his chances, but there must be perspective. Monday night was not pleasant to see, of course. We are waiting for a response from Chelsea on how they see it.
Meanwhile, here's Jose Mourinho offering a textbook riposte:
This period is hard for them and for me because there is only one match per week so the first three matches they clearly feel that some are playing more and some don’t, but in September with the Capital One Cup, Champions League and Premier League, with three matches a week, everyone playing, rotating, resting - it is an easy period for them and it is an easy period for me as everyone feels much better.
Victories bring happiness to everyone, not just to the ones on the pitch. We have to think about the players and they deserve respect but football is about the club first, after that comes the team, after that the players and after that the managers. I am the last one.
We cannot put the players in front of the team and in front of the club, it must always be the other way and so with every decision, the first thing we think is about the club and the team, but if we can make it good for club and team and players, it is the perfect situation.
Granted, the manager was talking specifically about Petr Cech, but he generalised to the whole squad here, and it makes a great deal of sense. We're at the time in the year when missing even one game feels like you've been completely sidelined, and with the transfer window open it must be very easy for players and agents to look wistfully at alternative options.
That said, it's a bit rich that a 21-year-old who's just recovering from a major knee injury is getting upset at missing the first game of the season. Van Ginkel is supremely talented and has plenty of potential, but he's not so good that he should expect to be in the squad week in, week out. My assumption, however, is that his agent is talking up van Ginkel's supposed disappointment for leverage as part of these talks with the club. If that's the case, which seems likely, it's hardly worth worrying about him at the moment. Let's wait and see how things look in September.