Jorginho is the heartbeat of Chelsea.(Photo by John Sibley - Pool/Getty Images)
After a summer when he conquered Europe with Italy, Jorginho has returned to Chelsea to establish himself as the heartbeat of Thomas Tuchel’s unstoppable team.
The 29-year-old has come a long way from when he first joined the Blues in 2018 for £57million.
He was called a “one-dimensional midfielder” which Mauricio Sarri had brought along from Napoli.
The 2021 UEFA Player of the Year winner has had to endure abuse and doubts from a section of the Chelsea fan base, who questioned what exactly he adds to the team.
“We all remember what they were saying, right? I was too slow. I was too weak. I was Sarri’s son. Man, it made me so angry,” Jorginho told the Players’ Tribune.
“But listen, they underestimated me. You see, I’ve had a turbulent start at every club I’ve been with. Every club. It’s incredible.”
In the last 12 months, Jorginho has done the European treble, winning the Champions League, the Euro 2020 and the UEFA Super Cup to crown off a remarkable turn of events in his career.
The Italian’s growth is reflected in the trust he has from his managers and teammates.
When Chelsea was struggling against Aston Villa in the league, Thomas Tuchel quickly turned to Jorginho to replace Saul Niguez and the game was won from there.
Against Tottenham over the weekend, he produced another brilliant display to help his side to a 3-0 win in the London derby.
A performance that might not grab the headlines but one that earns the respect of the coaching team.
So what exactly are Jorginho’s strengths?
Jorginho is the manager’s extension on the pitch, and you’d often see him pointing to other players where they should be to receive a pass.
His calming effect to take a step back and receive the ball under pressure before creating a passing angle is an underrated skill in this team.
Football is about space and he creates it by just knowing where to be at the right time.
Short intricate passes to release pressure
Jorginho’s short delicate passing skill was heavily criticised when he first arrived at Stamford Bridge, but having excelled at it during the Euros, Chelsea fans are beginning to appreciate what this adds to this team.
The short passes help retain possession during the most intense part of a game, and give strikers time to pick their spots before receiving a pass.
He excellent at keeping it cool and passing it short under Mauricio Sarri, Roberto Mancini and now Thomas Tuchel, which ultimately dispels the myth that he is just a “Mauricio Sarri player”.
Controlling the tempo of the game
Immediately the midfielder got the ball and looked to left wing-back Marcos Alonso and fellow central-midfielder Mateo Kovacic to create a small passing triangle.
They easily slipped the ball between themselves before advancing it forward when space was created.
Jorginho’s combination of calmness, and passing range allows him to dictate the tempo at which Chelsea play.
He is an extension of the manager’s ideas on the pitch and a true definition of a leader without the armband.
The ultimate team player
Stories from the Chelsea dressing room show what a professional Jorginho is.
He is the first to admit when he is not playing well and also the first to help out a colleague going through difficulties.
When Romelu Lukaku arrived at the club this summer, he described Jorginho as great team player and other players have shared how helpful the Italian is to team-mates.
Good managers want the best players, but the great managers want the best human beings.
Players like Jorginho create a conducive environment, whether they are playing or on the bench, to achieve great results.