Almost A Year After Horrific Leg Injury, Kurt Zouma Returns To The Pitch In Full Steam
An injury is never good for a player as well as the team. One of the youth players of France and Chelsea Football Club, Kurt Zouma suffered a horror injury in perhaps what was the purple phase of his career back then. Zouma suffered a major setback in the game against Manchester United on 7th February 2016.
But he has made his awaited return after 11 months, and it seems he is taking to claim what once his, a place in starting line. So is Zouma ready to take Chelsea by storm?
A Horrible injury!
The French defender had been sidelined after suffering a knee ligament damage in Chelsea's 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge to Manchester United in February of 2016, which required leg surgery that ruled him out of Chelsea's disastrous campaign and summer's European Champion League.
Defending champion back then Chelsea's horrible season appeared to have taken a turn for the worse with a gruesome-looking injury to Frenchman Kurt Zouma.
The 21-year-old landed awkwardly after contesting a high ball in the game and was taken off on a stretcher in the Premier League draw against Manchester United.
Speaking about Zouma's injury in post-match presentation, Chelsea’s then interim boss Guus Hiddink said:
'He will have an examination on Monday. It's very bad when you land with a hyperextension of your leg. Let's wait.'
Manchester United defender Luke Shaw, who broke his leg against PSV Eindhoven in September of 2015, expressed his support for Zouma.
Chelsea and French centre-back had made 32 appearances for the Blues in 2016.
Making a comeback!
Kurt Zouma agreed a five-and-a-half-year contract for £40,000 wages with the Blues on deadline transfer day on January 31, 2014. The 22-year-old has been building up his fitness levels ever since his habitation and got his first taste of football match in eight months when Chelsea's Under-23s side hosted Derby on 25th October 2016.
Chelsea’s new manager Antonio Conte has been keeping Zouma in his long-term plans to rebuild team spirit. Antonio Conte took he to America in pre-season to show that he was very much part of his long-term plans.
Kurt Zouma stood in Chelsea’s new formation with the rest of Chelsea’s defenders by Conte, and new boss talked through the different positions he would be expected to take up.
Moreover, Zouma was also included in the hours of video analysis to show the team how Conte expects his teams to defend as well as cope with different situations.
Whenever Conte started to consider switching to a back three after their 3-0 loss against arch nemesis Arsenal, he was again included in all of the positional and tactical work to make him ready to take up his place when fully fit and called upon.
That moment Zouma had been waiting for 11 months finally came in the FA Cup victory over Peterborough on 8th January 2017, when he made his first senior appearance for 11 months on the right side of Conte’s jubilant back three formations.
After the match he said:
“Anything can happen in a game and when I had that shock I just said welcome back to myself. In English – we talk English here. I wasn’t worried because I was ready in myself, in my head I was ready to play, to go with the contact, everything – I was ready.”
Moreover, Zouma faces a tussle to displace Chelsea’s current back three: Cesar Azpilcueta, David Luiz or Gary Cahill in the starting line up in Premier League and now has additional competition in the form of versatile defender Nathan Ake, who has been recalled from his loan after his extraordinary performances at Bournemouth.
Chelsea is clear favorites to win Premier League this season, and one of the primary cause has been Chelsea’s impenetrable and disciplined defense. It would be interesting to see if Zouma replaces any one of current Chelsea defender in the team.