There’s nothing like an international break to knock the wind out of your sails, especially when the games are more boring than watching the weeds grow next to a freshly-painted fence. Many of the Chelsea players found themselves involved with their countries, with a couple of debuts to boot. Here are a few things to tide you through the upcoming week of tedium.
#1 Tales Of Tammy
Tammy Abraham has been courted by Nigeria, publicly and in private, to play for their senior team, so this call-up must have given him encouragement about his prospects of playing for England. As it turned out, the young man started the game against Germany and put in a decent shift. There was a bit of nervousness, but that is to be expected from a youngster who only just turned 20. He is not the finished product yet, and the 2018 World Cup might be a bit too soon for him, but he’s got a real chance of becoming an England regular if he carries on the way he has for the last couple of years.
#2 Lofty Expectations
Another Chelsea youngster out on loan, Ruben Loftus Cheek, also made his senior debut for England. And what a debut it was! An English midfielder with good technique, strength, pace and trickery used to be stuff of wet dreams until the not-too-distant past. But with RLC’s debut, that dream is closer to becoming a reality than ever before. Despite wasting last season on the Chelsea bench, there has been no drop in his confidence and he seems eager to make up for lost time. Here’s a player unafraid to play the risky pass or even take on defenders. He was named Man of The Match for his display, but we’re pretty sure it was on account of his nutmegging of two Germans in quick succession.
#3 Mor Scores For Sure
If you can somehow overlook the painfully crowbarred pun, you would see than Alvaro Morata scored for Spain, yet again. The Spaniard lost his momentum and his form when he got injured and it took him a few games to regain sharpness, but he seems to be getting back to his pre-injury levels again. With Michy Batshuayi injured almost as soon as he joined Belgium’s training camp, Morata is left as the only fit striker at Chelsea. Oh, and Eden Hazard also got on the scoresheet in a 3-3 draw against Mexico.
#4 The Italian Job
If you needed further proof of Antonio Conte’s magical powers, look no further than the state of the Italian national team, who are on the brink of missing out on the World Cup. Despite fielding a team which was at least ten times stronger than Conte’s last Italy lineup, Ventura’s Italy succumbed to a 1-0 defeat against Sweden in their first leg playoff. Zappacosta was the sole Chelsea representative, and he might get a start in the second leg if Ventura decides to go for it. If Italy do fail to qualify, it would be a sad end to the international career of one Gianluigi Buffon.
#5 The Welsh Wonder
When I was 17, I could barely tell my arse from my elbow, and scoring a goal in a playground free-for-all was the pinnacle of my footballing “career”. Ethan Ampadu seems to have done a bit better, though. Fresh off making his Chelsea debut, the Welsh youngster got his first cap for the Wales senior team against France. And he is still a year away from being able to drink to that. Unbelievable.
It turned out to be a surprisingly good week for some of the Blues, and one hopes the remaining fit players do return to base, injury-free. Until then, fingers crossed!