Marco Van Ginkel Proves Jose Mourinho Must Keep Faith with Chelsea Youth Policy

Garry Hayes@@garryhayesFeatured ColumnistSeptember 19, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 18:  Marco van Ginkel of Chelsea in action during the UEFA Champions League Group E Match between Chelsea and FC Basel at Stamford Bridge on September 18, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Clive Rose/Getty Images

For all the negativity that has followed Chelsea's 2-1 defeat to FC Basel in the Champions League on Wednesday, there was one positive to take from the game—the performance of Marco van Ginkel.

Making his full debut for Chelsea, it came somewhat a little later than many had expected. After all van Ginkel had featured heavily in preseason, but when the serious business of Premier League football got underway, Jose Mourinho preferred more experienced heads in his place.

The Portuguese has been criticized for not using Juan Mata enough this season and if van Ginkel continues to perform with the maturity he displayed against Basel, Mourinho could find himself coming in for more heavy questioning over his team selection if the youngster doesn't appear more often.

Still only 20 years old, Chelsea's Dutch ace stood out on an otherwise disappointing evening in West London, showing Chelsea fans just what they have been missing in his absence this term.

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 18:  Chelsea match day announcer Neil Barnett introduces Marco van Ginkel (L) and Andre Schurrle of Chelsea prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Hull City at Stamford Bridge on August 18, 2013 in London,
Clive Mason/Getty Images

Indeed, if Blues fans were unsure of what they were getting when Chelsea signed him from Vitesse Arnhem for £8 million, they know now as van Ginkel's performance on Wednesday evening outlined exactly what he can bring to this team.

He looked strong and was rarely found out of position, looking very much the part. But where appearances can be deceiving, van Ginkel's stats over the 75 minutes he featured are even more impressive.

No Chelsea player had a higher pass completion rate (93 percent) than van Ginkel, while he made more short (12) and medium (36) passes than any other midfielder on his team.

They're stats that show the footballing brain he possesses and van Ginkel is a player firmly in the mould of Dutch legends before him, retaining possession and more often than not, using it effectively.

Whereas most youngsters would avoid responsibility on their debut on such a big stage, the Blues' No. 16 clearly demanded it, receiving more passes than teammate Frank Lampard whom he played alongside in the pivot, for instance.

The only blemish on an otherwise encouraging debut was his eagerness to get commit to challenges in somewhat rash style—picking up Chelsea's only booking of the game and conceding three fouls.

That's the approach of a young player, however, and it to be expected. In time it will disappear from his game, but what will be hanging around for a long time is his vision and eagerness to recycle possession without being wasteful. That's one asset that will assist Chelsea no end this season, let alone in years to come.

Mourinho has been quoted all over the press in the days before and since Chelsea's Champions League opener with Basel, explaining that his squad is full of young talent that must be nurtured before his players are ready to fulfill their potential.

He spoke of his team as one of "beautifiul young eggs" (via Daily Mail), with Wednesday demonstrating van Ginkel is among that bunch.

More so, though, the Dutch youngster has shown Mourinho needs to keep faith in his young stars as, while it may be painful now to experience defeats and a loss of form, when those eggs eventually hatch, it's going to be a sight to behold.

*All stats from UEFA.com

Garry Hayes is Bleacher Report's lead Chelsea correspondent and will be following the club from a London base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter here: @garryhayes


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