Exclusive: Demba Ba on exciting striker Nicolas Jackson and why Drogba was right about Chelsea

Ex-Chelsea striker Demba Ba is excited with the start to life of fellow Senegalese Nicolas Jackson and has been speaking to LondonWorld’s Rahman Osman about the new Blues striker.
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Chelsea’s young striker Nicolas Jackson has already made giant strides in his young career, playing for Senegal at the World Cup, winning the penalty that Sadio Mane scored in the memorable 4-2 win against Brazil in a friendly recently and becoming La Liga’s last season breakout star.

He’s bagged two goals and two assists in pre-season and has got Chelsea fans excited ahead of what should be an interesting first year in blue. Jackson has spoken about how he grew up watching the likes of Didier Droga and Demba Ba, so LondonWorld’s Rahman Osman caught up with Ba to speak about Jackson’s start to life and how he can fulfil his potential at Stamford Bridge.

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Nicolas Jackson has been speaking about how you and Drogba are his idols, have you had the chance to speak to him since he signed for Chelsea?

I haven't yet, but I have spoken to representative Diomansy Kamara. That is his mentor, he helped him out from Senegal to go to Spain. They've been riding together for a while. Jackson, I met him in Senegal when we went to Senegal for national team duty recently and we talked you know. He's a very good kid, talented but definitely a very good very respectful like most Senegalese. But yeah, I'm so glad for him.

What is your advice to him given he’s made a big jump to a club like Chelsea? How do you succeed in such an environment?

I think there's one thing that you have to do on top of everything when you're at a club, like Chelsea, especially at night. You need to ask yourself some questions, how can I say this without being rude. With respect, you know, if I was off record, I'll tell you that he needs balls.

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I don't know how to say this properly in English. But you're the striker. You know, you have the capability. You have to be courageous, you have to come in and say I am here. I am the one who's leading that attack, I'll be the one who's going to be leading the club to victory. Because I'm a striker - I score goals.

There are penalties, I'm gonna take my responsibilities. Actually, this is the word, thank you, responsibilities. You know, I think this is more so in every big club, because in every club, everybody wants to shine. Everybody wants to be the big man. You know what I mean? I don't say that he has to go and fight the hierarchy, but at some point, when you take the example of Samuel Eto’o, and when he went to Real Madrid, when he came in the national team of Cameroon, about at the age of 18 more or less, he took responsibility.

You know what I mean. And he thinks about his responsibilities on the team. And I think it's very important in a club like Chelsea, that when you come in, you take your responsibilities and you show your character and you show how good you are. I think this is probably the best piece of advice I can give to the young brother that has just signed for a club like Chelsea.

Chelsea might still bring in another striker that could limit his playing time. Is this something he should be concerned about?

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At Chelsea, you should expect that in every transfer window. You should expect somebody to come in and challenge you. If they bring someone like Vlahovic and he doesn't succeed, they will bring another one.

Don't feel like you're safe at Chelsea because they get rid of a person that is not successful to bring somebody else. What I mean is that you should always expect to have competition in every area of the field. And that will keep you on your toes too.

Jackson has had a good start, he should keep doing what he's doing right now. Whether somebody comes in or not, just focus on you and believe in the things that have brought you this far. If he does it for a year or two then he’s earned the trust and the club will now view him as the main man and someone they can build on for their goals.

Last season, Didier Drogba said he did not recognise Chelsea. Do you recognise the club under new owners?

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Obviously, no. Because ownership changes, and whatever ownership changes, things change, you know, it's like you own a house and I come in and buy it - I'm going to remodel the house. You know, to my taste. And then you wake up one day and say oh, that's not the house that I used to live in. You know, so obviously it's not the same but is it better or worse? We'll see with time because it's not easy to get Chelsea back to where it was.

Roman Abramovich had his people with the club that was working so well. The likes of Michael Emenalo and Marina Granovskaia - those people were very successful when they were there.

Roman had people around him that made the team work. Now, it's down to the new owners to build such a successful team around them and also, to be able to bring success back to Chelsea. Because success is not just the fact of paying players big money and having a great transfer window. Paris have had over the last couple of years some of the greatest transfer windows they could imagine leading to nothing.

So I think it's important to have that synergy. And to have those bodies that kind of create the atmosphere for success. Of course, it will never be the same, especially now that the club is taking a new route. But let's see.

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What is that one memory that will you’d always take from your time at Chelsea? Gerrard’s slip?

No, not at all. That will be my first 48 hours at the club, this is something I could never forget because I left Newcastle on a game day. We're having a game that day. I knew from the night before that I would not be competing in that game because the release clause had been triggered by Chelsea.

So I came into the hotel the next morning, just to come and say goodbye to my teammates and it was an emotional moment because you know those people, I had spent 18 fantastic months with them. Some of them are still in contact, because they're really good people.

They were really good people and it was sad to leave and then I came to London and had my medical and then the next day you know I'm wearing the kit, you know those 48 hours were crazy because all of a sudden I was Newcastle player, and two years prior, I was fighting it for Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga.

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And then all of a sudden two years later, I look at my look at my chest and I have the Chelsea logo on. And that's crazy because you know everything happened so fast. And to me, it was like a goal that is to be reached. And to cap it off, after one training session with Chelsea, I score on my debut. That was probably one of the most fantastic moments in my life.

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