Chelsea are a kids’ club and the stand-out leader is one of the quietest in team – Pochettino needs them to grow up fast

MAURICIO POCHETTINO is cagey about the extraordinary transfer business conducted by Chelsea during the summer.

A staggering 13 players have joined the club and the Argentine coach, who joined on July 3, says he is “happy” with his young, untried squad.

AlamyMauricio Pochettino says he is happy with his squad after another busy transfer window[/caption]

Chelsea captain Reece James will need to prove his leadership qualitiesGetty

But he won’t go far enough to say he got everything he wanted – and that has become frustratingly clear since the Premier League season kicked off with a home draw against Liverpool.

Pochettino and Chelsea need time and patience. These were two ingredients spouted by ownership duo Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali when they first took over last year.

But with two managers sacked already, what the American pair say and do are two different things – at least when it comes to the head coach.

In more apparent terms, Pochettino needs at least one senior man to take on a leadership role in the Chelsea dressing room.

The departure of long-serving skipper Cesar Azpilicueta in the summer, a player who did not miss a training session let alone a game for four years, has left a vacuum.

Not only Azpilicueta but the departure of vastly experienced midfielders Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic leaves an absence of battle-hardened men in the ranks.

Losing Antonio Rudiger the year before was bad enough but there has been a steady drain of seniority and character within the walls of Stamford Bridge.

New captain Reece James looks the part and can play with a scowl on his face but is considered one of the quietest on the firm.


When you compare Chelsea now to the previous squad containing John Terry, Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba, Gary Cahill, David Luiz and Branislav Ivanovic it’s a stark contrast in character.

In practical terms Chelsea are also in dire need of a finisher. So many people at the club claim new signing Christopher Nkunku is the best player in the current group and the best goalscorer.

Nkunku will be lucky to play before Christmas having had knee surgery last month.

Nicolas Jackson’s miss from three yards against Nottingham Forest underlines how the £35million Senegalese has plenty of promise but it needs honing.

Against the same opposition in the final game before the international break there was so much energy in the team but it needs a firm hand to channel that youthful enthusiasm in one direction.

Chelsea boasted that the average age of the squad is now just 22-and-a-half.

It’s a kids’ club and they are going to have to grow up fast or Boehly and Behdad must face another barren year as part of their long-term ambitions.

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