This Sunday Chelsea performed extremely poorly. We seemed to lack ideas, creativity, urgency or any dedication in the tackles or in aerial duels. There can be no doubts that our opponents on the day were better prepared tactically, more committed and had a greater desire to win. Perhaps our only consolation was the performances of our Brazilian players – the only members of the squad it seemed who really gave a damn whether we won or not.
These are all quite callous statements. Their accuracy could be debated although I think they are all fair enough. Being a relative nobody with a blog however, I’m allowed to make such judgements given they’re of hardly any consequence – Lucas Piazon however isn’t qualified to publically make such criticisms. Whilst it’s impossible to be exactly sure what he said, the general gist of what has been reported along with his hedging on Twitter leaves me feeling pretty sure his complaints were not only pointless but possibly also counterproductive, with regards to public and fan perception.
These days, in Britain anyway, there seems to be this irrepressible fascination with ‘Wonderkids’. Fans seem borderline obsessed with the next crop of talented teenagers and become desperate for them to succeed and turn into the ‘new Zidane’ or the ‘new Kaka’ or nowadays the ‘new Messi’. In my experience it almost invariably leads to overrating and overhyping and ultimately disappointment when these kids fail to reach the unreasonable levels expected of them.
One of the best modern examples surely being in 2007 when Manchester Utd signed Anderson from Porto for approx £20 million. Utd fans read the words ‘Brazilian’ ‘£20million’ and ’18 year old’ and assumed the very best. Even before they’d seen him play they must have thought they’d signed a world beater. As it happens, 5 and half years later he still has never managed to hold down a first team spot and were it not for the illness of Darren Fletcher and Utd’s general lack of depth in midfield, he may have been sold several times by now.
Right now it seems Chelsea fans are going through a similar initial phase with Piazon. I’m amazed how much respect and adulation he’s given by supporters in spite of the fact only two cameo appearances in the League Cup constitute his professional career so far. I could be wrong, but I’m guessing were it not for his nationality and price-tag, even if he were just as good, this adulation for the player would not exist. I should be clear I don’t dislike Piazon at all and I enjoy watching him play, but I currently don’t share the level of expectation many fans seem to, with regards to his future. Whether he can become a first team regular at any point I feel is debatable. If I were to make a list of players at Chelsea aged 21 and under and rate them on future potential, Piazon wouldn’t be in my top 5. Even Islam Feruz (who is 18 months younger) I think has shown more promise so far in his youth team career.
When I first read what Piazon allegedly said, admittedly, my first thought was that he was being refreshingly honest and I was glad he cared so much, even now my issue isn’t so much what he said but why he felt the need to say it. If he felt that the collection of club greats and stars of European football in our first XI on Sunday didn’t perform well enough or ‘lacked guts’, what did he feel was the purpose in verbalising his concerns? He is by no means an authority whose criticisms will be taken on board by the rest of the squad. It wasn’t an especially respectful gesture towards his elders and betters with whom he trains and no doubt learns from most days either.
Of course as fans, you want your young talent to be arrogant and sure of themselves and impatient to make it the top. However, you also want them to have the sense to conceal that arrogance when talking in public and to have the maturity to consider the team over venting their frustrations. Most football fans who don’t follow Chelsea will not have heard of Piazon, what will their view of him be after reading this report of his criticisms? A conceited, ungrateful, egotistical teenager perhaps? This isn’t necessarily the case but if a Utd Youth player criticised his First Team, that would definitely be my initial assumption.
Without knowing exactly what he said it’s difficult to pass any considered judgement here, not that I’d want to anyway. Most people I’ve talked to so far seem far more tolerant than me of these quotes. To reiterate, I felt what Piazon said was a little out of line and slightly disrespectful, but my main worry is if the reason he made these comments is down to a deep set arrogance, not uncommon in young players these days, then he could be destined to end up like Daniel Sturridge it seems will end up – embarking on a itinerant career of consistent underachievement. And given the status immediately granted to Piazon by the Chelsea fans on faith, he’d be an idiot to let that happen.