Chelsea have one more game before the upcoming two-week international break, a trip to Southampton this weekend, which Frank Lampard describes as a “very difficult place” that will require us “to be tip top”.
A development most helpful then would be if N’Golo Kanté were able to play a second match in five days, after completing the full 90 minutes against Lille on Wednesday. Kanté has been struggling with a series of injuries ever since the end of May, and while Lampard has assured that we will be taking it very easy with our most important player, the temptation will surely be hard to resist to play him again on Sunday.
“It’s something we’ll have to watch over the next 24, 48 hours to make sure he’s okay. All the players are on a semi-recovery programme after the Lille game but it’s also the fact he hasn’t played much. In terms of the injury, he’s fine and there was no fallout with that from the Lille game so it’s just about making sure he’s fit and ready, which is a call for me to make.”
Other than injuries, the beginning of Frank Lampard’s tenure at Chelsea has been defined by the rise of and reliance on homegrown youth, but as the head coach has taken pains to point out repeatedly, the more veteran players in the squad have just as important of a role to play. In fact, many of those veterans now have to step into leadership roles, and contribute not just on the pitch but behind the scenes as well, to guide and nurture our future superstars.
One player who’s risen to prominence in that regard since the summer has been midfielder Jorginho, who was previously only known for his association with Maurizio “not his actual father” Sarri, his penchant for playing short passes, and being generally terrible at defending.
But Jorginho has shown himself to be so much more than that in the last few months, both in terms of his football and his passionate leadership. And it is for the latter that he’s now been officially elevated to club Vice-captain status, succeeding Cesar Azpilicueta, who was elevated to captain officially this summer.
“Jorginho is vice-captain and Azpi is captain, which has been clear since the start of the season because his professionalism and career here speaks for itself. Jorginho is a big character and a driver for us, which is very evident to see on the pitch.
“It’s obviously important [to speak English]. We always try here to push that along as soon as players come in because communication is key on and off the pitch. He crosses the borders, if there are any, because it’s easy sometimes to come in and stay within your nationality groups.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Chelsea FC
Jorginho has been changing perceptions and learning English for much of 2019, and that certainly makes him a great candidate to step into this official leadership role. G’wan, Jorgi!