The rise of Ryan Bertrand
|The rise of Ryan Bertrand|
This week Ryan Bertrand signed a new 5 year contract at the club, which will keep the England international at Chelsea until at least 2017. The 23 year old has made big progress over the last few months, which many would argue have been the biggest few months of this guys career to date.
Starting off with a debut in the Champions League in Munich, the first player ever to do so, Ryan has shown everyone what a good player he is. In the final, he was composed, didn’t let the occasion get to him, and provided Ashley Cole with vital cover down the left hand side, which limited Bayern’s success down that side. He played 70 minutes in that time, and I remember at that game when Bertrand was substituted there was a huge chant of ‘one Ryan Bertrand’. He did our club proud that night, and the fans appreciated it greatly.
From then on he earned a call up to the Great Britain football squad for the Olympics, where he made 4 appearances, and impressed whilst doing so. The next step after that was a call up to the international set up, where he made his debut in a 2-1 win for England against Italy, coming on as a 78th minute substitute.
In the space of a few months, Ryan Bertrand has gone from a relatively unknown player, to a player that most people in football recognise as a very good young player. At 23, his career at Chelsea has kicked off relatively late, but we can already see that he is the eventual replacement for Ashley Cole, when he eventually decides to hang up his boots, or move on. During his time at Chelsea so far, Ryan has gone out on loan 5 times, making over 140 appearances. This includes spells at Bournemouth, Oldham, Norwich, Nottingham Forest and Reading, where he was voted as third in the player of the year competition.
Ryan has always impressed me, ever since I saw him play for Chelsea the first time, which was against Birmingham City in a 3-1 win in the 2010/11 season. He came on as a substitute, and I remember he provided an assist for Florent Malouda, from what was a really good cross. He looks very composed on the ball, not afraid to take on the defender, and he never makes it easy for an opposing player who wants to get past him. These are all traits that Ashley Cole has, and you can quite clearly see that he’s based his entire game around the best left back in the world. Everything from the matching hair cut, to the play he runs, reminds me of Ashley Cole. It’s almost like seeing double.
I have to say that we’re very lucky to have this player in our squad and it won’t be long until he’s seriously testing Ashley Cole for the starting spot at left back. Even Ashley Cole tweeted a few weeks ago after the England game that he would have to watch his back now, and he’s right there. For now though, Ryan does a good job playing on the left side of midfield, and it’s clear to see that he’s the first choice for that position ahead of the once prolific, Florent Malouda. Whilst Malouda appears to be coming to the end of his Chelsea senior career, Ryan Betrand’s is only really just starting. He made 14 appearances last season, including Munich, and you wouldn’t bet against him making well over 30 appearances this year, with even more games coming Chelsea’s way.
With Ashley Cole’s ankle proving to be even more delicate nowadays, it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see Ryan taking the starting spot at left back in games against the ‘lesser’ teams. One day in the next few years, Ryan will be the number one left back at Chelsea, but until that day comes I’m sure he’s happy just to get as many minutes as possible at a club that is famously hard for young, homegrown players to break into, with Ryan being the first to establish himself since John Terry. But what I will say, is that we are looking at England’s next left back, and quite possibly the future best left back in the world. Only time will tell whether this prediction becomes reality. Come on you blues!