César Azpilicueta, Dave, The Rat. That’s Rat as in “gym-rat”, not rat like Iazzard and Cesl, or the rat that Agent Kujan once accused Verbal Kint of being. Unlike real rats, Azpilicueta would no doubt be quite welcome in Alberta.
It goes without saying, Azpilicueta is no ordinary rat. In fact, he’s not a rat at all, but a rat-her competitive human being. The most competitive player in the squad, even, although Victor Moses recently said Ross Barkley is the hardest working player in training. (Or was, presumably, until Azpilicueta heard about that assessment.)
There’s plenty of evidence of Azpi’s competitiveness, both anecdotal and tangible, and the latest in the latter category comes from Chelsea’s “Inside Training” video, which shows the squad partaking in agility, plyometric, and reaction drills. We’ve seen some of these exercises before — Paolo Bertelli has continued as the head physio from Conte’s group — including the photocell drill that tests players’ reaction times.
Working in teams of two, the players alternate in turning off the randomly lighting cells by touching them. Each player gets to do three each, for six total touches, and technically, you have to jump in and then back out (and not just stand close to them like Eden Hazard). Presumably, Chelsea TV are highlighting the best duos at this game, which include the aforementioned Cheating Eden & Captain Cahill, Hard-working Ross & Brexit Danny, and Dave the Rat & his strike-partner, Álvaro.
If you read the headline, you’ll already know which of those six is the one who appears to care most of about the time it takes to complete the drill: just a smidge over 4 seconds, or roughly two-thirds of a second per touch.
Just another reason Azpilicueta should be the Captain, if we are to choose a new one.