Chelsea midfielder faces big decision as pressure from national team grows over “Lesley” issue
France under 21 boss Thierry Henry’s comments about Lesley Ugochukwu were a stark warning to the midfielder that he needs to play regular minutes or risk losing his place in the national team setup.
The young “Bleus” take on their Austrian equivalents tonight, with Ugochukwu expected to play. However if he continues riding the bench at Chelsea all year, Henry admits he will have some tough decisions to make.
Henry wasn’t just speaking about the summer signing, there are a few players in that situation, but his words on Ugochukwu were the most relevant for Chelsea fans:
“The problem is the same with Lesley, even if the situation is different at Chelsea because in front of him there are players like Enzo Fernandez and Moises Caicedo. But he’s not playing, and nowadays, these players don’t even play with the reserve side to keep their rhythm. At the start of the season, you can benefit from the physical conditioning of the pre-season but the benefits fade and I hope he can continue to keep on course physically,” Henry said in quotes picked up by Football.London.
We can see why Ugochukwu was kept around for the first part of this season, given the dreadful injury situation when the registration window closed. There are also benefits for a new player at a club getting settled in and meeting their manager and teammates before they’re shipped off on loan. But with the squad now almost restored to full strength, a loan both for Chelsea and Ugochukwu’s sake seems sensible.