Breaking News

Willian suffered with Neymar & Hazard but is now flourishing with Brazil & Chelsea – Nevin

The ex-Blues winger says a star on the flanks for the class of 2019-20 is proving that he can be just as effective as a crop of exciting youngsters

Willian has “suffered” from playing in the same teams as Eden Hazard and Neymar, claims Pat Nevin, but the Chelsea winger is now showing that he can be a star for club and country in his own right.

The Brazil international has always been a useful asset for the Blues and Selecao, and his ability has never been questioned, with a healthy contribution of goals and assists having been offered at Stamford Bridge and for a demanding South American nation.

Willian has, however, often found himself being forced to operate in the shadow of more illustrious colleagues.

The 31-year-old has been freed, though, at Chelsea by the summer of sale of Hazard to Real Madrid, while Neymar has seen injury struggles disrupt his involvement with Brazil.

Willian is considered to be thriving with added responsibility, with former Blues winger Nevin telling the club’s official website: “The final joyous recovery is of course Willian who has been sparkling of late.

“He was getting the bird for a while too but I have my suspicions for the reasons why. His work load and schedule has been ridiculous for years with the travelling back to Brazil to play in their myriad games from World Cup qualifiers, Copa America and all the final tournaments themselves. He has had very little rest time for quite a few seasons now and I think you could see the wear and tear affecting him.

“His game isn’t that of a winger only, he always works back as well and with both Brazil and Chelsea in the last few years he has suffered from playing on the ‘other’ wing to one of the best players in the world (Neymar and Hazard). Neither of those two players are noted for their covering back, so as the other winger you have to compensate and do more work.

“I am not surprised Willian is having a good time. A little less pressure from the national side, more time on the ball now that Eden has gone, a manager who encourages constant attacking play which suits him and now the fans giving him all the backing. This could well be a golden season for the 31-year-old in a Chelsea shirt, just as everyone else is talking about the kids.”

Frank Lampard is putting his faith in youth at Chelsea, with the likes of Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount benefiting from a change in approach by a west London giant.

Nevin is delighted to see patience being rewarded, with the process of getting academy graduates into the senior side not as easy as many like to make out.

“They are the product of not being rushed when they weren’t ready,” added Nevin.

“Tammy, for example, had to fill out physically and learn the game out on loan. He did that in a well-structured and orderly way. His technical ability improved, he learned about the pressures and how to cope with them and had a good look at how tough it is in other divisions and at the wrong end of the table.

“He has come back with the equivalent of an honours degree in men’s first-team football. So, yes, he has been given a chance but do not ignore all the work and consideration put into the development at every stage.

“For years we all had to put up with the sniping about the size of Chelsea’s on-loan troupe and how the club was getting it so wrong. We are not really hearing much of that now are we? It was probably difficult for the club to stay focused, stick with and believe in that method when the flak was flying but to their credit they did so.”

No comments