Chelsea’s Anelka has blossomed in his revised role – creative playmaker
NICOLAS ANELKA will return to action against Hull City today revelling in the footballing freedom handed to him by Carlo Ancelotti.
Anelka has not played since Chelsea’s 2-1 victory over Portsmouth last month, due to a hamstring injury, but Ancelotti has confirmed the striker will return against Hull and Anelka is hoping to rediscover the form he was show- ing before he was sidelined.
Chelsea will be depending on Anelka’s form and fitness with 19goal striker Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou away at the African Nations Cup in Angola.
But the France international, 30, has no doubts that his transformation, from an out-and-out striker into a more free, creative role behind Drogba, has been a success.
“I wanted to show everyone I could play there and I wanted, even if I’m not scoring a lot of goals, to be creative in the middle of the pitch,” said Anelka. “I’m not going on the pitch just to score goals, I am going there first to win and to play well and then, if I have the chance to score as well, that’s even better.
“I like this position and I enjoy my football when I’m playing there. This role is maybe why I am more consistent, even if we have not always had good results.
“But we are playing against big teams every game and if they stay back against us, it is hard for us to score, which gives us a big challenge every time.
“I wanted to play this position when I first came to Chelsea, with Didier in front and me just behind, and I always said that.
“The freedom I now have on the pitch puts me in a position where I can be up front sometimes, playing the striker, then behind later in the same game or a left or right-winger.
“It gives me the chance to have some versatility and that is why I do what I do. Not a lot of people knew I could do this and I don’t think Carlo knew me as a midfielder before he came here.
“I think he knew me as a striker but game after game he saw that I could do this position because when Didier is playing up front, I like to drop behind and he trusted me to stay in this position.” – The Independent