“Dominating the midfield is the most important thing in modern football.” – Toni Kroos
Midfielders are the Tempo – setters of every team, the midfield position contributes to both going forward and coming backwards, the headquarter of decision making. And because of the high energy demands the position entails, midfielders are often the most worked players in any setup.
For slow-tempo, passing clubs, it’s mostly a mental job for the midfielders. But for teams like Chelsea who favour high-tempo passing and pressing football, it becomes a position that utilizes not only the mental, but also physical demands that often lead to early fatigue for athletes who lack endurance.
Jorginho and Kovacic are Chelsea’s deep midfielders with the most appearances so far this season. Ironically, these are players arguably poor in terms of endurance. Jorginho has featured in 29 matches for Chelsea, while Kovacic has been involved in 29 games. These are tremendous numbers regarding the players they are, and the system they play in.
Consecutive matches for players with low stamina could disrupt the squad momentum. It is a direct path to poor performances, as players may be wanting and even attempting to do more, but won’t be able to due to the high energy demands they face every minute they are on the pitch. The only way to efficiently manage this game is rotation and constantly regulating individual’s match minutes. It could be a factor behind consistently winning matches.
Frequent rotation among squad players is highly recommended, even if it means seeing younger, less-experienced players like Billy Gilmour feature. He is a Jorginho-type of CDM with sky-high technicality, great composure and an ability to pick out passes all across the pitch. Even if Billy is not coming in for the sake of his ability, he should be called upon for rotation purposes. He could not only offer fresh energy, but partnered with Kovacic or Kante, Gilmour could add a unique dynamism to the Chelsea midfield.
Billy is a prospect already used for competing against seniors-level players. At age 15 he was promoted to Ranger’s Under-20 side and has featured with Chelsea’s Under-23 development squad several times. He is a creative force, a tempo dictator, and loves making tackles. An ambitious wonderkid, he loves dominating opponents. In his Interview with BBC Sport, he revealed that his only goal in football is to be the best player in the world.
In order to achieve our season objectives, an energetic and active midfield will be imperative. At this stage, Jorginho, Mason Mount and Kovacic all arguably need rest. Calling in Gilmour to act as this necessary reinforcement is the only way to balance the midfield demands and help avoid future subpar performances.