Friday, September 19, 2014

Drogba dedicates time to mentoring Hazard as Belgian seeks to raise his game

One of the most interesting aspects of Eden Hazard's footballing personality is the way he seems to get attached to the older generation of stars. Last year he latched onto Samuel Eto'o, and this time around it's apparently Didier Drogba who's taken it upon himself to shape Hazard into the sort of player everyone knows he can be. Speaking French helps, apparently.

Here's the Telegraph: "Drogba and Hazard spend a lot of time in one another’s company at Chelsea’s Cobham training ground, speaking in French about how Hazard can get even better, his opponents and their lives off the pitch."

It's a little bit funny given that Drogba's battering-ram style and Hazard's are so different, but it's worth noting that Hazard essentially has the same job as Drogba in his pomp: knock the other team's defence off balance and open up space. The Ivorian did this with his extraordinary physical presence while his current protege prefers running at players, but the effect is very much the same. Both move defences around and create significant chaos, which is then exploited by either the player themselves or a teammate.

If Drogba was a battering ram, Hazard is a set of ingenious little lockpicks, but the effect is -- or should be -- the same. All that's missing from the 23-year-old's repertoire right now is the goals, and now that he's starting to take more shots* they should come in time as well.

*Drogba's influence, perhaps?

But mostly I'm impressed by Hazard seeking out the great and trying to learn from them. You can't get anywhere in the game without help, and the likes of Eto'o and Drogba, two of the finest players of their generation, are perfectly poised to give the Belgian the extra guidance he needs.

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