Two Chelsea stars named ‘world’s best’ have endured nightmare season under current Chelsea boss Pochettino

‘World’s Best’: Two Chelsea stars labelled ‘world’s best’ have endured nightmare season under current Chelsea boss Pochettino

Chelsea’s Benoit Badiashile and Reece James, once hailed as among the world’s elite in their positions, have faced a torrid time this season. Both players have been hampered by injuries and dips in form, which has significantly limited their contributions at Stamford Bridge under manager Mauricio Pochettino.

The defensive pair have managed to feature in just 19 Premier League games between them this term. Badiashile, who joined Chelsea last January, has been sidelined for a considerable period due to a groin injury.

James, on the other hand, has clocked a mere 390 minutes of league play owing to a hamstring injury, followed by surgery to correct a persistent issue that’s troubled him over the past two years. His first season wearing the captain’s armband for Chelsea has been marred by these fitness concerns, leaving his participation in Euro 2024 in doubt.

Micah Richards, the ex-Manchester City defender, had high praise for Badiashile shortly after his transfer from Monaco, telling BBC’s Monday Night Club: “Badiashile is one of the brightest young talents there is in world football and he’s playing very well.”

Yet, the 23-year-old Frenchman has struggled to live up to such acclaim. Even during his appearances, Badiashile has not shown the level of performance that led Chelsea to fork out £32.5m for him from Monaco just over a year ago, reports the Express.

Likewise, England star James has been largely absent for Pochettino this season, a major setback for the Chelsea boss who values him as one of the leading full-backs globally. “It’s really important. It’s important that your captain stay fit and can help the team. One of the best full backs in the world,” was the Chelsea manager’s verdict in March when James made his comeback from a hamstring injury.

James is highly respected by his teammates. Trevoh Chalobah endorsed the 24 year old’s world-class status as early as October 2022.

“I’ve said it from day one,” Chalobah, a product of Chelsea’s academy like James, confirmed at that time. “Right now, he could be the best in the world [in that position].”

Whether Chelsea’s season could have seen a significant uplift if they had both players available remains speculative. Malo Gusto has shown impressive form at right-back in the absence of James, but Pochettino’s team has shown a deficiency in quality central defence during Badiashile’s lay-off.

Chelsea will be hopeful that Badiashile and James experience uninterrupted seasons next term. Both will play crucial roles in kickstarting the Todd Boehly era.

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