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Mauricio Pochettino still sees ‘massive’ potential in Armando Broja

The pressure of promise

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The statistics do not paint a pretty picture. Two goals, two assists, eighteen appearances. In terms of minutes, it looks a bit better, but the lack of minutes themselves is another problem (less than 700 so far this season, with only eight starts in all competitions).

There are mitigating factors. He’s young, he’s developing, and he’s still barely a year removed from ACL surgery. Truly recovering from a major injury like that, both physically and mentally, can take several years.

But time is a luxury that often cannot be afforded, not even in a project like Chelsea’s. So as questions and rumors swirl around the short- and long-term future of Armando Broja, Mauricio Pochettino’s urging for some patience ... and some positivity about the 22-year-old Chelsea Academy product.

“The potential is massive. It’s about the process. All the biggest strikers always need time. When they are young you need to find the right balance. But I still believe he has the potential to be an amazing striker.

“It’s a process, a matter of time. We can provide the time he is going to need time to be good and not so good. (There will be) positive things and mistakes. There will be good performances and not so good performances.

“(At Chelsea) You are always going to be compared with the biggest strikers (from the past), like (Jimmy Floyd) Hasselbaink, (Didier) Drogba and that is difficult for a young guy. [But] it it’s (important) to live with these rumours [...] with the pressure of being a top player [...] to be at these type of clubs...”

“[And] I always compare with Harry Kane. He was at Leyton Orient, Millwall, Norwich and Leicester. He spent time to find his real balance and then in our first six months (at Tottenham) he started to perform in December/January. We started to see his real potential.”

-Mauricio Pochettino; source: The Athletic

Well, January’s about to end and Broja’s not yet taken the opportunities granted by Nicolas Jackson’s absence. We might not have the time to wait for him to become the next Kane, the next Drogba, the next JFH — especially as that’s something that most players with promise do not achieve.

Chelsea’s entire project is predicated on the idea that we’ve found The Next XYZ. But as we’re learning (and as many could’ve easily predicted), potential and promise do not always translate as expected. Development is not linear, nor is it guaranteed. Eventually you do have to perform, and eventually in this game is not a long time.

It’s a harsh business, a harsh sport, and luck is as much a factor as skill and coaching. It may be unfair to expect all these things from Broja, but we must expect them if are to get (back) to where we want to be.

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