Kurt Zouma should use Kalidou Koulibaly's rise as a template if he wants Chelsea future
Kurt Zouma’s Chelsea career has been very stop-start.
He signed from Saint-Etienne in 2014 as one of the hottest prospects in Europe.
After being gradually eased into the first-team, he was finally set to be a consistent starter under Antonio Conte in 2016 before he ruptured his cruciate ligament, setting him back.
To recover, he was sent on loan to Stoke City, where he played 37 times as Stoke were relegated. And this season he has gone on loan to Everton to play under Marco Silva.
But Zouma is still insistent that his career at Chelsea is not over.
“I have always wanted to show myself at Chelsea since I have been there,” Zouma told The Telegraph. “It comes from my mentality.
“I have always believed in myself since I started playing at 16. I know my injuries stopped me in the way I wanted to play, but injuries are part of football and I want to show people I can come back and play there. That’s why I need some game time at Everton because they are a good team.”
And Zouma could do worse than looking at the example set by Kalidou Koulibaly and his rise to becoming an elite centre-back.
After joining Napoli in 2014, Koulibaly has always been seen as an excellent defender – much like Zouma.
But it is on the ball where Koulibaly has improved hugely; an area where Zouma should be aiming to improve.
Koulibaly has learnt to play with the ball at his feet; a reason he has been scouted by most top teams in Europe.
Zouma should watch closely how the Senegalese transformed from a good defender to a world-class well-rounded centre-half.
Zouma’s obvious physical and defensive skills make him a perfect defender.
But under Sarri, if you are not skilled enough with the ball, your opportunities will be not forthcoming.
And Zouma is working with the perfect manager at Everton to develop, as his philosophy is similar to Sarri’s.