Hakim Ziyech’s old coach at Heerenveen, Hans de Jong has said the Morocco international will overcome the challenge of Premier League’s physicality ahead of his Chelsea transfer.
The 27-year-old is soon going to make a huge leap to the Premier League to join Frank Lampard’s squad at Chelsea.
It is not surprising there have been questions about how he will adapt to the “physically more demanding” league compared to Eredivisie where he has played in throughout his career.
People suspect Ziyech’s slender body would cause him problems at Chelsea. He is 180cm tall, but only weighs 65kg (Whoscored), similar to Jorginho.
For comparison, Callum Hudson-Odoi who also plays as a winger is slightly taller at 182cm but weighs 11kg more than Ziyech. And the 19-year-old has had some problems where defenders simply out-muscled him to the ball.
Of course, just like Hudson-Odoi, Ziyech will have the pace and the agility to compensate for it, but people will still have their reservations on him.
Heerenveen U17s coach De Jong who trained Ziyech when he was in the academy said these sorts of questions are not new to the Ajax man.
Speaking to Sky Sports, he laughed at the notion: “They are still saying that he has a problem with his physicality.
“That is what everybody is saying right now but they were saying the same when he came from the academy at Heerenveen.
“They said the same when he went to Twente – problem with his physicality. Same thing at Ajax. So I don’t think it’s a problem.
“I have absolutely no doubts. He is going to beat the next challenge. It is going to be great to see him excel at Chelsea.”
An assistant manager at Ziyech’s former club FC Twente Boudewijn Pahlplatz also believes he will succeed at Chelsea, but will take time to adapt.
Pahlplatz said: “The step to the Premier League will do him good. He will be playing with the best players every day and that is a new challenge for him. I think he will do well there.
“He will have to get used to the amount of games and the physical side but in the end he will succeed, for sure.”
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