Now that Ashley Cole will be unavailable for around two weeks his understudy Ryan Bertrand has been given the opportunity to prove his worth and he is confident he can do so despite running into a bit of criticism from the Chelsea support this season.
The 23-year-old fullback will start in tonight’s game against Rubin Kazan and will hope that he can use the chance to start putting pressure on Cole for his place. Whilst Cole hasn’t exactly been in the best of form this season it is doubtful that he will lose his place to Bertrand as this stage no matter how well he plays, but I do believe he can use this opportunity to answer some of his detractors.
“Personally it’s a chance now for me to come and play in the next few games.
“It’s just down to me to keep training well, keep my performances up to a level and keep pushing and pushing and pushing until the time comes.
“It’s just important I focus on the next game and make sure we get the right results. For me it’s about getting in game time and trying to put in as good performances as I can.”
I think that some of the grief Bertrand has received for his performances this season have been a little harsh as the senior fullbacks have faced similar problems when they’ve played in matches where the two central midfielders offer little to no protection and our fragile defence tend to get overloaded as a result.
Also, The three attacking midfielders don’t always offer enough protection either, especially when Eden Hazard is absent, and Saturday’s game against Southampton was the perfect example of this as Marko Marin & Victor Moses did nothing to help their fullbacks when the Saints pressed.
He has also played a fair few games on the left-wing, I think about half of his starts have been in that position, and that’s not his natural role yet we have seen both Roberto Di Matteo and Rafael Benitez make some odd choices in the wide areas over the course of the season.
The best way for Bertrand to improve is to play and become more comfortable in the environment and despite the fact he’s fairly good at keeping the ball and making short passes, he really needs to be a little braver and sharper when it comes to going in for challenges and bettering his defensive contribution.