As Jorginho begins his fourth season at Chelsea, with three trophies and nearly 150 games for the club under his belt, he continues to divide opinion almost as much as in the beginning. He’s either a Ballon d’Or no-stats-all-star, or the biggest waste of space in midfield since the dawn of time.
The truth — if there’s ever such a thing as truth in the land of opinions masquerading as facts — is of course somewhere in between those two extremes. Every player has their strengths and weaknesses. They wouldn’t have gotten to this level if they didn’t add at least some value to their teams along the way. They key is finding the ways to utilize them to get the best out of their abilities, to set them up for success.
In Jorginho’s case, that means a structured midfield setup where he can concentrate on controlling our play with the ball. Here’s Thomas Tuchel to explain that much better than I can.
“I think Jorgi is a very strategic player. He can play in advance, knows what to do in ball possession, can imagine what is going to happen in one or two passes ahead. He knows where to help out in short distances and long distances, when to switch the play, when not to switch the play. He has a good sense of rhythm.
“He lacks, if you isolate him or watch him separately, the pure physical ability that makes him the number one candidate to be a number six in the Premier League. But once you have him in a structure, he is very well organised in his game, he organises all the environment around him, which helps him then, when everything is organised, and then he can show his true abilities in controlling the rhythm of a game.”
Tuchel has certainly improved the team’s organization in all phases of the game, especially in midfield and defense. Contributing to the latter may not be Jorginho’s greatest asset, but he makes up for that in some part just through sheer effort and dedication.
“He is relentless on defence. He wants to be everywhere on the pitch, he has a huge ability to run a lot. Maybe he lacks the high speeds, but he compensated with a lot of work rate and with very good anticipation in his defensive work.
Plus, he’s a “glue guy”, with intangibles galore on and off the pitch, in the limelight and behind the scenes. There’s a reason Frank Lampard made him Vice-captain after all.
“On top of all of that, he’s a top guy. He is funny, he has a big smile on his face every single day. You can have chats with him, you can laugh every single day with him, because he’s up for a laugh, up for a good life.
“He’s in love with this game and this is the feeling he transports in the first minute and he never stops transmitting this energy that he’s really into the game and thinking about tactics and loves to be involved and feel a true connection with the game and such a positive guy.”
“That makes him a very, very important player and a huge link in the middle of the pitch, not only for us but also for Italy. [...] Sometimes they don’t shine, but they make other people shine and this is also important for any team in the world.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: Football.London
Shine on, you crazy diamond!