What makes Willian so important for Chelsea identified by this former England player

The BBC have former Chelsea and England midfielder Karen Carney writing a column for them this season, and she picked out one Blues player who has really impressed her this season.

Willian made the difference in games with Lille and Brighton in recent weeks, and he’s the one she picked out for praise. But she goes further than just noting the goals from the last few months, instead noting his continued consistent form as a counterweight to Eden Hazard.

“He’s been one of Chelsea’s best players for a few years, having played more than 300 games for them, but he was always overshadowed by another attacking player – Eden Hazard,” she mused.

Then she went on to pick out one quality in particular he brings to the team, made even more important with Hazard gone:

“The difference with Willian is that a lot of players just pass, pass, and pass. He is a ball-carrier. It’s sometimes the best way to get up the pitch because it takes the relief off the team.”

She’s spot on. It’s been really notable in recent games, for example at the weekend, when his long winding runs up the field ending in a free kick won at the edge of the opposition box allowed the team to get up the pitch and resettle when they flagged later on.

His experience is vital in an otherwise young team, and we’re likely to see it in evidence tonight when we take on another tough away test in Amsterdam. Let’s hope he can replicate that vital goal in Lille.


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