Not many managers choose players solely on form and performance purposes. A lot of managers tend to have ‘untouchables’, and these selected players play for the team as long as they are fit. But with Antonio Conte, he cares about what you are going to show on the pitch.
I’d take you back to September, an interview where the Chelsea boss suggested he’s willing to play anyone who can prove their mettle.
Ahead of the game against Arsenal, Conte said: “There are three days before the game and they have the opportunity to show me during the training sessions, to have a good shape, and convince me to put them in the line-up.
“I want to win. My choice is done to win. I don’t care what the surname is. It’s important when I call someone to play to show me my choice is not wrong.”
Truly, the Italian has kept to his words. Players like Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso will not ordinarily be in the Chelsea first 11, but Conte has given them a chance to show their capabilities, and they have become key players at the club.
Despite John Terry’s abilities and importance in the squad, Conte chose not to bring him back to the starting 11, after the trio of Cesar Azpilicueta, David Luiz and Gary Cahill have been outstanding at the back. Neither did he choose to recall back Branislav Ivanovic, despite his return from injury.
The most outstanding example is the case of Pedro and Willian. Willian needs no further introduction, and everyone knows what he can do on his day. Pedro has been in form since the Brazilian went on a compassionate leave due to the death of his mother, but Pedro’s form has made it difficult for Willian to break into the starting team.
Indeed, Conte has shown that he doesn’t respect anyone’s surname and he’s willing to play you based on what you show on the pitch and on the training ground. This has even stepped up the likes of Nathaniel Chalobah closer to the first team. With this Conte’s philosophy, everyone would be willing to work hard and give their all, complacency will be reduced and the competition for shirts will be fierce — that is exactly what we need at the club.