Gary Lineker questions whether 'brilliant' Chelsea player can actually lift a game by himself

Gary Lineker name-checked Jorginho as a player with terrific technical ability, yet one who fails to lift the Chelsea crowd from their chairs.

Speaking on the Match of the Day Top Ten podcast, Lineker and his two chums were discussing the Premier League’s best ‘ballers’.

Dripping in sauce

Individuals with an abundance of flair, flicks, tricks and dancing feet.

Entertainers who supporters and rivals pay to watch on the weekend.

On the panel’s list included Chelsea’s beloved pairing of Eden Hazard and Gianfranco Zola.

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Cristiano Ronaldo finished first in Alan Shearer and Micah Richard’s respective ordering, based mainly on the older Manchester United version of CR7.

Jay-Jay Okocha and Dimitri Payet earned a mention, alongside several other twinkled-toed artists.

All players with the X-Factor on their side that helps draw a line between themselves and the rest of the bunch.

That provides segregation from the likes of Jorginho, who is renowned for being pretty in possession, but for passing rather than penetration.   

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“It’s easy just to take the sidewards option,” said Lineker about the ‘ballers’ group.

“I think there was a spell when Trent Alexander-Arnold had a dip. People saying ‘oh, he gives the ball away.’

“Well, he’s trying unbelievable passes and brilliant crosses, so that’s possibly why, rather than knocking it five yards sideways.

“I was just thinking of a few midfielder players; off the top of my head, Jorginho or Thiago.

“Brilliant players but different kind of players. Keep possession, keep possession, good stats. But, are they going to lift a game?”

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Ice cool Italian

Granted, Jorginho isn’t much of a stadium pleaser.

He refrains from whipping out a step over or attempting to nutmeg everything in sight.

But the Italian’s game is built upon subtleness, not swagger.

Brainpower over bling.

He orchestrates proceedings, keeping the team ticking over.

Without the Jorginho’s of the world, football would just involve players constantly running into one another.

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The midfielder ensures balance and calm, where others try to create mayhem.

Which can be a brilliant spectacle, yet only if the moment is called for.     

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Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produces regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League.