Jorginho recently celebrated his one-year anniversary at Chelsea, bringing to a symbolic end a rather eventful first twelve months in London. Having arrived as the club’s third most expensive signing (since eclipsed by Kepa and Pulisic), practically stolen from underneath Manchester City’s noses (Guardiola might still be bitter, were it not for their league title), and touted as the key to unlock the wonders of Sarri-ball, it’s safe to say that Jorginho doesn’t exactly have the fanbase worshipping at his altar just yet.
But say what you will — and there’s certainly been plenty said, both good and bad — the one thing we cannot say about the 27-year-old is that he gave up or let it all get to him, even when he was shamefully booed by large sections of the Chelsea “support” for doing exactly what his manager was asking him to do.
In fact, Jorginho took that in stride and redoubled his efforts to convince the mob that he was indeed worthy of the shirt. And sure enough, he saved his best for the very last part of the season, with performances that extended well beyond just the pass-count, including in the Europa League final.
It is precisely that attitude and determination that has impressed Frank Lampard thus far in preseason as well.
“Jorginho is a fantastic player. The one thing that has struck me about him from working with him in the last week and a bit is not just his quality on the ball, I saw that last year. We know all about his comfort on the ball and bravery to receive the ball in any area. It is not something that’s normal to receive the ball in tight areas and deal with the ball and keep doing it constantly.
“But his attitude in training has been first class. He’s a driver of a session. He’s a voice. He runs, he pushes people around him, he drags people up when he doesn’t feel they’re working as much as he might want. I’ve loved seeing that. So in terms of first impressions, working with him for 10 days, I can’t ask for any more. I’m delighted to have him.”
That of course won’t mean that Lampard will be trying to re-engineer some sort of Sarri-ball nonsense. But Jorginho does provide a unique skill-set, in addition to his apparently amazing intangibles, and that’s certainly something that will be quite useful for a head coach searching for multiple solutions and strategies for the long season ahead.
“Jorginho became a conversation last year. I’ve been there. As a player, sometimes things are out of your control and the conversation carries on very quickly without you. He played in one position and the manager had faith in him and it became something that was talked about, possibly too much.
“But I’m a new manager. I have new ideas. We might be more adaptable in the way we play. I might ask different things of Jorginho, of N’Golo Kante, of Ross Barkley — of anybody. I’m not stuck in a conversation from last year. I’m looking at a player who has very much impressed me over the last 10 days.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Express
A clean slate for all. We’re all intrigued about just how Lampard will use Jorginho and just how good Jorginho himself will be in a non-Sarriball role. If his attitude is any indication, he just might be all right.