In his latest article for the Fancast, Dean Mears argues that Eden Hazard deserves the captaincy.
The role of a captain holds many different values across Europe. For many, including countries like Italy, the captain is usually the most senior players. But in England, a captain means so much more. The captain is the leader, the inspiration, the voice on the pitch. They also provide a more direct link between the coaching staff and the players. And in our case, with the board (when things aren’t going right)
Captains are also the first point of contact for new players arriving at the club and youngsters coming through the academy. Only one player ticks all those boxes, Eden Hazard. Over the past six seasons at Stamford Bridge, Hazard has emerged as the Premier League’s best player. Many times over the course of those six seasons we have relied on Eden’s genius to rescue draws from the jaws of defeat and snatch vital three points from close encounters.
Hazard is the inspiration for the team, we look up to him and rely on him to get us going. Without him, we look like we lack direction and purpose. With him, we look like a team that can win trophies. That’s why he deserves to wear the armband.
Look at this summer’s World Cup; Hazard captained his Belgian team to the World Cup semi-final through his consistent man of the match performances.
If his teammates had turned up with him for the semi-final against eventual winners France, then we’d be talking about him as a World Cup winner.
A captain needs four things;
1. respect of the dressing room
2. Trust of the manager
3. The ability to communicate
4. The ability to inspire
Eden has all those things. For some, however, Eden’s quiet persona will lead some to have question marks over his ability to captain the side. Therefore, I think we should follow the Barcelona model. They have always relied on four captains.
Puyol, Xavi, Iniesta, Messi.
Replacing those who left with the likes of Pique and Busquets.
The role of the captain around the club is shared amongst all the more experienced players in the dressing room. We can do this. Cahill provides the English connection, Azpi is Mr Consistent, an ever-present in the team, and David Luiz can deliver the vocals and the dressing room antics.
This was a crucial part of our successful sides during the early Roman years. Yes, Terry wore the armband but that dressing room was commanded by not just Terry, but the likes of Cech, Lampard and Drogba as well.
There was a viral video from this summer’s World Cup final. Before the game in the France dressing room, Paul Pogba gave a rousing team talk, inspiring his country to a second World Cup glory. Yet Hugo Lloris wore the armband.
It was similar to Hazard’s Belgium. Before an extra time kick off, the team huddled and listened to Romelu Lukaku try to gee them up. You don’t have to wear an armband to be a leader, and a good leader will always let people express their passion.
Many will say that Hazard shouldn’t be made captain just to make him stay, and with that, I agree entirely. Hazard has said over the summer that he wants the club to match his ambition. And this summer I think we’ve shown we want to be as successful as he does.
Sarri will play a brand of football that is right up Eden’s street. And the big money signings of Jorginho and Kepa have shown that the club is willing to spend. We should be offering Hazard the captain’s armband because he is the outstanding candidate for the job.
We’ve done what we can to convince him to stay. Now it’s up to him. A new contract should be on the table with the armband attached to it. If he still feels that his future lies away from SW6, then it gives the club time to negotiate the right deal for us and to start working on who will try and replace him.
Personally, I think Hazard is settled in London and at Chelsea, and the appointment of Sarri will be enough to convince him that the best chance of success is here with us. For me, he’s the best footballer I’ve ever seen in a Chelsea shirt. I know others have won more and done more for us, but you just can’t deny how good Hazard is.
Last season, I wrote that if Hazard should leave to fulfil his real potential, but the summer has flipped that on its head. There’s a buzz of excitement about what a team of Sarri and Hazard can achieve. Especially with a midfield combination of Jorginho-Kante-Kovacic.
This is a club that will be back in the Champions League next season, but not just playing in it, but competing to win it. Hazard is the difference in that. With him, we can rule the world, but without him, we can’t even pretend to be challengers. That’s why it’s a no-brainer that he wears the armband as well.
What are your thoughts? Let us know!
Written by Dean Mears – @DeanMears