'He's done enough': Ashley Cole claims Chelsea man deserves to play more, but there is a problem
Ashley Cole thinks Chelsea player Saul Niguez did enough in his latest performance to earn more minutes on the pitch, but highlights the main problem is the competition for places in his position.
Saul, who’s on loan this season from Atletico Madrid, impressed after starting in Wednesday night’s victory against Tottenham.
He was an authoritative figure in the midfield during a 2-0 win at home to Spurs in the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-finals.
Chelsea legend Cole was majorly impressed with the way Saul performed in the all-London affair, explaining he did enough to convince his manager Thomas Tuchel to play him more.
However, acknowledges it’s very difficult for the 27-year-old central midfielder to play regularly when he’s competing with teammates N’Golo Kante, Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic for a spot in the XI.
“I thought he played well. I think he had good balance with Jorginho in there, he had a little bit more license for freedom,” Cole told Sky Sports’ Main Event channel (10:05pm, 5 January).
“Yes, he played in a two but he could go out into those wide areas a little more with Jorginho just sat a little bit.
“In terms of his overall performance and the worries and concerns people had around him, he’s done enough tonight to warrant that he should get more opportunities.
“But ultimately, the two or three players in front of him are playing so well it’s very tough to get in this team.”
Saul’s individual display against Spurs was night and day from the kind of performances he was producing in the early stages of his Chelsea loan.
He’s made 12 appearances this campaign as midfield cover, but at least deserves another start in this weekend’s FA Cup third-round tie against Chesterfield.
Depth at Chelsea
Yes, there may a couple of spots Chelsea still need to fill in their squad. For instance, Everton’s full-back Lucas Digne is someone who’s been linked with the Blues to help out at left wing-back.
However, you can’t really fault the squad assembled by the club.
Tuchel has got an array of talent at his disposal that he can afford to rotate in certain games.
Chelsea are fortunate compared to most to have so many quality players on their books, but even they are being tested thoroughly by the amount of injuries and illnesses to hit them this season.