Victor Moses has taken a famously circuitous route (back) to the Chelsea first team, having made 43 appearances (and scoring 10 goals) in 2012-13 as a 22-year-old, and then spending the next three seasons out on loan in various un-exotic Premier League destinations.
Now at age 25, he’s being rewarded for his patience and perseverance. Thanks to new head coach Antonio Conte, Moses has finally been given the opportunity to turn impressive pre-season performances into real world minutes in the Premier League for Chelsea.
"[Antonio Conte] is giving everyone a chance — even the young lads. I'm pleased that he's here and I've just got to go out there and enjoy my football. As long as you work hard, the manager will see it and he'll give you an opportunity."
"[José Mourinho] never spoke to me. I thought in my head, 'He's got his own players already'. I think we chatted a couple of times on the phone -- he asked if I was alright at Liverpool [where Moses spent the 2013-14 season on loan], but that was it."
Moses has been a winger for most of his career, comfortable on both flanks, but now he's been tasked with right midfielder/wing back duty in Conte's 3-4-3/5-4-1 tactical setup. Although initially unaccustomed to the position, Moses has put in two fantastic performances so far and seems to be taking to it like fish to water in both the attacking and defending movements.
"I've never actually played the position before. I kind of like it. As long as I'm helping the team, I just want to play football."
"I've got [César] Azpilicueta next to me as well and he's always talking to me, making sure I'm in the right position. He makes it a lot easier for me because he understands the role more than I do. That's helped me [defensively], and offensively it's given me the chance to get the ball one vs. one and go at defenders. That's good for the team and good for me."
"The formation we're playing really suits the way I play, and the other players as well. We're very intense, we want to shut down our opponents and get the ball forward on counter-attacks. We're looking solid at the back at the moment as well, so we're very pleased with that."
Chelsea have now played 10 games in all competitions this season, picking up 7 wins, 1 draw and just 2 losses. Good, but could be better, especially when it comes to those two losses against Liverpool and Arsenal.
"It's just about building game by game. We don't want last season to happen again, so everyone is working hard and it's all about togetherness. We've got that this season."
"We're constantly talking to each other on the pitch to make sure we don't make mistakes, and if someone does make a mistake, it's about encouraging them not to make the same one again."
Improving as a team is priority number one, but Moses also has personal ambitions to truly establish himself at the top level of the game. Having changed teams in each of the last five seasons is probably not the most helpful in that regard, but if he can build on his good start this season (3 goals already), he just might stick around Chelsea a bit longer.
"There's still a lot more to come from me. I've been in the game for a long time but I feel like I've just started. I still need to establish myself at the top level, to work hard and go out there and express myself. As long as the manager believes in me and believes in the team, we'll keep fighting hard."
-Victor Moses; Source: ESPN FC
Even though Moses is a tad bit older than most of his colleagues still on the grind in the Loan Army, it is certainly nice to see a success story emerge from Chelsea’s controversial use of the system. Perhaps he will serve as a blueprint for others to follow, alongside the likes of Thibaut Courtois, and, if we want to get unreasonable hopeful, maybe even Nathaniel Chalobah.