West Ham United’s Ben Johnson admitted to the Evening Standard he used videos of Cesar Azpilicueta at Chelsea to help him improve positionally.
The talented 21-year-old purposefully picked Azpilicueta because of his ability to play in either full-back position.
Johnson was called upon by David Moyes to start the Hammers recent 3-0 victory over Sheffield United.
Despite being a right-back by trade, Johnson was deployed at left-wing back against the Blades. He didn’t look out of place at all and this was partly down to Chelsea’s captain.
“I’ve watched a lot of players playing on the left but being right-footers,” he admitted.
“Azpilicueta at Chelsea did it for years and Ashley Young at Inter Milan, still playing at the top level and doing it. There are a lot of players capable of doing it.”
It is true Azpilicueta’s adaptable nature has been taken of advantage by nearly every Chelsea manager since he signed in 2012 from Marseille for a bargain buy of £6.5m (BBC Sport).
Like Johnson, he started his career at right-back. But as the seasons rolled on and he grew in stature, the decision to switch sides was pretty straightforward.
According to Transfermarkt, the Spaniard has played 118 of his 407 Chelsea appearances at left back.
This is only 56 games fewer than he’s managed in his ‘natural’ role on the right.
Thomas Tuchel has reshuffled him into centre-back, another area he understands excellently.
The Chelsea Chronicle View
If you needed anymore proof that Azpi is the perfect role model and professional, even opponents are taking notes!
I’d go as far as to say he is one of, if not the most, versatile figure in Chelsea’s Premier League history.