Why Victor Moses Is the Key to Chelsea's Continued Improvement Next Season
Here's a test for you. Find somebody you know and get them to name three of Chelsea's attacking midfielders. No doubt, the more popular answers would consist of: Eden Hazard, Juan Mata and Oscar.
Keep going...Lucas Piazon? Yossi Benayoun? Marko Marin? No, no and...no.
Dig a little deeper, and you'll find an extremely talented, hard-working Nigerian international who goes by the name of Victor Moses, but the chances are you won't have heard him as much as his more credited teammates.
Starting out as a young hopeful at Crystal Palace's academy, it's not been an easy path for Victor Moses. Both of his parents were tragically killed when he was just 11, and as a result Moses came to England as an asylum seeker.
Perhaps his difficult start to life has given him the inspiration to get to where is today, and as a consequence represents the kind of hunger and determination that every footballer should have.
The former Wigan man—who signed for Chelsea for a reported £9 million, per BBC Sport—tends to go about his business in a quiet manner, providing energetic performances from the right or left side of midfield when any of the creative trio are unavailable or being rested.
It's unfortunate for Moses because, judging by his performances in his debut season at Stamford Bridge, he may have deserved more of an important role under Rafa Benitez, who has given him only a handful of starts.
For a young and improving player like Moses, continued development is crucial at this age so that when he approaches the prime age in his career, he is at his optimum level. While he is far from a finished article at present, this season has indicated how much potential the Nigerian winger has in his locker.
Making 42 appearances, the Lagos-born winger has scored 10 goals in all competitions, including an impressive return of five goals in 10 appearances in Europe.
Not bad for a debut season.
Amazing feeling to win the Europa League absolutely buzzing! twitter.com/VictorMoses/st…— Victor Moses (@VictorMoses) May 15, 2013
It was strange then to see the 22-year-old play no part whatsoever in the Europa League final, despite scoring four goals on the road to Amsterdam. Of course, Rafa Benitez went for a more conservative approach, picking Ramires as a defensive winger instead.
But there's no reason to suggest why selecting Moses wouldn't have been a sufficient selection on the right side; after all, the winger knows part of his game is also tracking back to help his teammates.
Either way, it would have been a disappointment not to play some part in what was the biggest match of his career.
Even though he only joined the Blues last summer, Moses will be working under his third manager when Rafa Benitez departs from Stamford Bridge.
It doesn't seem to have harmed his development, though, as there are clear signs that his technical ability has improved. It's fair to say that not all of his 10 Chelsea goals have been clean strikes; certainly, his header against FC Basel was more a stroke of luck rather than class.
But it seems that his attitude toward football and succeeding at Chelsea is in perfect order. Not once has Moses publicly criticized his manager despite settling for a bit-part role this season, and he seems to be enjoying his football more than ever.
He could certainly go on to become a valued member of the squad too, when you consider his record in different competitions this season, scoring in the FA Cup, League Cup, Champions League, Europa League and Premier League.
Already playing under two managers, that number will become three this summer when Rafa Benitez leaves. According to the Daily Mail, Jose Mourinho is poised to return to Chelsea for a second spell as manager at the club, and it goes without saying that the Portuguese tactician would appreciate a player of Moses' work rate.
When he signed Salomon Kalou for Chelsea in 2006, Mourinho saw the potential in the Ivorian, and Moses is in a similar mould to the Lille star. Even if he is not always a guaranteed starter, Mourinho is one of those coaches who prefers to have excellent squad depth, and Moses certainly fits the bill.
Moses may see his opportunities limited under the Real Madrid boss should he take charge, but having the highly rated forward on the fringes of the first team will give his teammates the motivation they need to maintain a high level of performance.
He has experienced cup success in his first season in West London, now Victor Moses will looking to use his strong run in the Europa League as a platform to establish himself as a first-team regular next season.
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