Chelsea’s squad revamp could have left a big leadership gap in a young squad that could rely on César Azpilicueta’s history to lead the charge as our captain. But since Azpi was also gone, candidates to take over the armband were few and far between.
Some could say Thiago Silva was the obvious choice given his overall experience in football and how well he’s defended the Blues since arriving at the club three years ago. Others would point towards Ben Chilwell, the English defender who looks the part at the Bridge since taking his first step in our ground. Still there was no stronger candidate than Reece James who despite being only 23 years old, seems to have the mind of a 32-year-old multi-champion whenever he dons our shirt.
At the same time Reece has been prone to injuries since transitioning from a loan army staple to a first-team regular at Chelsea. He has again fallen to a fitness issue, much to the chagrin of manager Mauricio Pochettino.
“I think it’s a sad moment because [Reece] is our captain. He was so excited to be a captain, full of energy.
“I think we are going to assess him day-by-day as well as possible. For sure, he is going to become stronger than he was, we are going to help him to become stronger than before.”
There were worries Reece’s new injury could keep him out of the pitch for months, especially with our recent luck in the medical department. Instead our captain will be unavailable for ‘maybe a few weeks’ according to the Chelsea boss, with out staff assessing how he progresses day by day.
“[Reece’s problem] is a hamstring. It’s not a few days, it’s maybe a few weeks. The good thing is that it’s not a big issue.
“The most important thing now is to worry about anticipating problems. When he plays again, we hope he’s stronger than he was before. We will assess him day-by-day and make a plan every day.”
Reece’s injury almost stole the spotlight from Chelsea’s work in the transfer market. Earlier today the Blues added Roméo Lavia to an already stacked midfield sector that included Moisés Caicedo to our toolbox a few days ago, with Pochettino ecstatic by the ‘fantastic work’ done by our directors this summer thus far.
“The club worked really, really hard. I would like to congratulate the owners, the sporting directors, everyone involved because the job was amazing. To add this sort of player like Moises, or Roméo now, I think it was a fantastic work from the club.
“We need to congratulate the job they are doing, the owners and the sporting directors because it was fantastic. This type of player, with the qualities they have, to come into this squad and to this project. It’s really exciting moment and situation for the club.”
It’s not been all roses and sunshine for Chelsea however, with Crystal Palace and former transfer target Michael Olise throwing a left hook on us by having the latter extend his ties with the former by four years yesterday. But since the Blues cannot have everything they want from other clubs, it’s good to keep in mind we do have some good (attacking) weapons in our storehouse.
“We are working, of course. We are looking at all of the options that we can manage on the market. We can see the potential.
“But I think at the same time, we are keeping one or two eyes on Armando Broja.
“We cannot forget him. We cannot stop him. We really believe in him – we know how important he can be for Chelsea.”
Still Chelsea fans will want to see the “new toys” in display as soon as possible. At the same time Pochettino doesn’t want to rush either Caicedo or Lavia into their debuts this Sunday against West Ham in the Premier League, given the risks involved both mentally and physically for two young players involved in multimillion football transfer sagas.
“We have one day more to assess them, but it has been stressful weeks for Moises and Romeo also.
“It would be easy to say they would be involved but the most important thing is to avoid risks and not to rush with them.
“If they are ready tomorrow, they will be involved but if not, we will wait a few days more to be involved in the squad.”
-Mauricio Pochettino; Source: football.london
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