Chelsea’s Anelka has blos­somed in his re­vised role – creative play­maker

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FOOTBALL - ADRIAN CUR­TIS

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

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