TV pundit Garth Crooks has insisted Chelsea centre-back Kurt Zouma has the potential to emulate John Terry’s success at the club after he selected the 26-year-old in his BBC Sport team of the week.
The Frenchman headed home the Blues’ second goal in their 3-1 win against Leeds United at the weekend.
The goal was Zouma’s fourth in ten league games this term, the same number he managed in his previous 141 league games before this season.
Zouma ‘loves getting on the scoresheet’
Following his impressive all-round display, Crooks pointed out Zouma had caused havoc in Leeds’ penalty area.
Crooks said: “He’s done it again. Kurt Zouma loves popping up in the opposition penalty area on set-plays and getting on the scoresheet.”
However, the former Tottenham Hotspur striker also singled out Thiago Silva for praise.
“I’m not sure who is better at it at the moment, Zouma or his senior partner Thiago Silva?”
Zouma success ‘just around the corner’
Crooks believes Zouma’s coming of age performances this season have been helped by his Brazilian counterpart.
The pundit insisted the seasoned Brazilian had enabled Zouma to play with more freedom and confidence.
And he likened Silva’s influence on Zouma to that of former Blues talisman Marcel Desailly on John Terry.
Crooks said: “There is no doubt in my mind that the arrival of the former Brazil captain has had an enormous effect on the confidence of Zouma in the same way Marcel Desailly had quite a telling impact on John Terry’s game during six years together at Stamford Bridge.
“If Zouma turns out to be anything like the defender Terry was for Chelsea, success is only just around the corner.”
Dramatic upturn in form
The France international’s fortunes have seen a dramatic upturn this season after some of his performances last season saw him come under fire from certain sections of the Chelsea faithful.
To be fair, the whole Chelsea defence was under the spotlight last term as the Blues conceded 54 goals, the club’s second-highest tally since the Premier League began.
This season, however, Chelsea have one of the best defences in the top flight. They boast the second-best defensive record in the league, conceding only 11 goals.
That figure is only bettered by league leaders Tottenham Hotspur (nine).
Chelsea go into their final Champions League group match tomorrow having already qualified for the knockout stage.
Manager Frank Lampard may use the opportunity to give fringe players a run-out against Russian side Krasnodar at Stamford Bridge.
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