The problem with narratives in football is that sometimes they can draw focus away from what’s most deserving of attention. Chelsea‘s Mateo Kovacic is living proof of that.
When Frank Lampard was dismissed and swiftly replaced by Thomas Tuchel at Stamford Bridge, there were inevitably and understandably two major talking points.
One was whether the incoming continental coach would keep the faith in the promising crop of young English players that came through the academy and stepped up under Lampard.
The other was getting a return from over £100million invested in Timo Werner and Kai Havertz, who have struggled to hit the ground running in their debut Premier League campaigns.
A German coach with Bundesliga experience would have no excuse not to get them performing, as the (somewhat reductive) logic goes.
That’s not to say it’s not been interesting to watch those stories develop.
Callum Hudson-Odoi and Mason Mount in particular have demonstrated there is still a place for the local lads, while Werner was named man of the match in Monday evening’s 2-0 win over Newcastle, with a major hand in Olivier Giroud’s opener before ending his four-month Premier League goalscoring drought for the second.
Werner might have been picked out for praise by Sky Sports, but Kovacic was the real star of the show.
When Tuchel walked through the door, there were no column inches dedicated to asking how he would get the best out of Kovacic. The fact he’s been the most outstanding player of the new Chelsea manager’s reign is an inconvenient truth for those that like football to be a series of neat little vignettes. Continue reading
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