Player Focus: The Rise and Rise of Ryan Bertrand

The Rise and Rise of Ryan “Plastic” Bertrand
There were a lot of questions as to how Chelsea could replace arguably their greatest ever Left Back in Ashley Cole and a few seasons back not many would have thought of Ryan Bertrand to be that player. A year ago if I told my non-Chelsea supporters that Ryan Bertrand is going to be a Champions League winner in his first ever European game they probably would have laughed off or may have been forgiven for not even knowing who he was.
That speaks volumes for how this Chelsea youngster has emerged as to one of the leading young talents in the present Chelsea side. Matured from a regular loanee to clubs such as Bournemouth and Oldham Athletic, to a more than capable second choice left back for the Blues. His ability to play as a Left Back as well as a Left Midfielder is an added bonus and surely suggests that this young lad can make a huge impact this season.
Joining the club from Gillingham just before his 16th birthday, Ryan has been out on loan 5 times in his career and his league debut came under former manager Andre Villas Boas but he really came under spotlight under present manager Roberto Di Matteo. There were questions raised when RDM took a huge gamble by giving Bertrand a start in the Champions League Final but the occasion did not seem to phase the youngster who matched the stars of Chelsea’s German opponents Bayern Munich throughout, and only being substituted after 70 minutes due to injury. Bertrand was impressive in the league as well as he managed to keep out Ashley Cole with a string of good performances most notably the one at the Emirates where he managed to win many hearts as well as the Man Of The Match award.

Strengths and Weaknesses
Not many people have a “No Weakness” section in their profile, speaks a lot about a young 23 year old doesn’t it? Well there are a few as I have seen a lot of Ryan to form an opinion. To start with there have been a lot of questions about his positioning. He is a very hardworking guy but at times tends to overdo things a lot which results in him losing possession.  The other thing that comes to my mind has to be that he gives away free kicks a lot. He is still 23 and still has what 13-14 years of football left in him. Surely a lot of time to improve.
Now coming to the strengths section the first thing that comes to my mind is his ability to play as a defender as well as a midfielder. He showed that in his first  European game and he was impressive if not brilliant. His crossing and his ability to hold on to the ball makes him a good defender. Although not the tallest guy when on the field but surprisingly his percentage of aerial duels won is pretty good when compared to may established defenders. What makes him a good midfielder? His passing,ball interception and crossing are the 3 key factors that made Di Matteo pick him over the likes of Florent Malouda and maybe Fernando Torres. A small stat just to show that yes his passing ability is good- Ryan Bertrand managed 229 passes last season with a completion rate of 90.39%, 3rd highest in the whole Chelsea squad.
To summarize, Ryan is quick,comfortable with the ball. Can support both attack and defense which makes him more than just a squad player.
Clearly Ryan has grown as a player over the past year and not just for his club but for his country as well. Although Team GB were not exactly impressive during their time in the competition, but Ryan Bertrand stood out as one of the more solid performers for the British side. Ryan managed to start all the games for Team GB and unfortunately he could not add another glorious chapter to his already illustrious career. Ryan’s performance though was noted by the England head coach Roy Hodgson and Yes! He has been called for the upcoming friendly against Italy. If he gets on the field Ryan will make his senior debut.
The coming season: The coming season is probably the most vital season for Ryan Bertrand. People are now expecting big things from him after his good display last season and Bertrand knows that there is no looking back now. Although I don’t expect him to replace Ashley Cole this season but a few more games under his belt probably in the League Cup or the Club World Cup will be massive for the young lad. With more game time, I think we will see his true talents shine through.

#Shikharr( @ShikharrC

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