Victor Moses’s journey from loan wastelandia to the Chelsea first-team (and a new and improved contract), parting the seas of pre-season football to prove himself to new head coach Antonio Conte and in the process validating Chelsea’s loan policy, has been one of the best stories in Chelsea’s season full of great stories.
Seeing other teams and coaches try to emulate the Moses model in their times of need — Son at Spurs, Navas at City, Oxlade-Chamberlain at Arsenal, to name a few — is perhaps the greatest indicator of just how successful Conte’s experiment turned out to be.
“He didn’t say to me: ‘Do you fancy playing wing-back?’ He just put me in there. After that he just kept on encouraging me and went through it with me, what the position was all about, mostly in training. And constantly he was talking to me in training to make sure I was improving in it, talking me through it. I took that in and I didn’t look back.”
While credit must go to Conte for trying something new and unorthodox, it wouldn’t have worked without Moses adapting to the requirements of the new position and working hard to learn the new responsibilities that a more defensive role entails.
“To be honest, I just wanted to play football. It was at Hull that it all started. I really enjoyed it and I took everything in. I kept watching the video of myself after the Hull game, to make sure I was in the right place, and after that I took it in and kept on improving.”
“It’s a big position. You need a lot of stamina to be able to play there, and it’s a responsibility. I have been learning a lot defensively as well, the manager has been teaching me and I have taken everything in. When I play against a winger, because I’m a winger myself, I understand what they are going to do before they try and go past me, so it makes it a lot easier for me. The more games I play the better I get.”
That drive and determination will be even more important next season. While Moses is basically unchallenged at right wing-back at the moment — Azpilicueta not nearly as dynamic and is key at center back instead; Pedro not strong enough defensively — Chelsea are expected to reinforce the position over the summer to provide competition and options for rotation for our upcoming title defense and Champions League campaign.
“I have always believed in the ability that I have got. I have always known that I’ve got the ability to play in a big club like Chelsea. I have proved that. We have got a manager here that is willing to give everybody an opportunity.”
-Victor Moses; source: Guardian
Moses has grabbed his opportunity this season with both hands and feet. But so will the new contender(s) next season. And that’s exactly how we (and Moses) will get even better.