Matt Miazga made his Chelsea debut this past weekend, and the performance he put forth left his manager impressed with his first foray into English Premier League soccer.
The U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team defender started and played all 90 minutes in Saturday’s 4-0 win over Aston Villa. Playing alongside veteran Branislav Ivanovic, Miazga proved capable throughout the contest as the relegation-destined Aston Villa provided little threat.
With his efforts, Miazga earned the praise of Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink, who liked what he saw from the 20-year-old’s first start.
“He had a rather comfortable game, although it’s not easy to play (Rudy) Gestede, but I think he showed he does have the potential,” said Hiddink. “To be honest, this was not the toughest game; when the really good war is going you have to consider how you cope with that, but it’s a good first step for him. He’s coming from a league where it’s a bit naïve and he has to get used to referees in this country giving a little bit more freedom to the attackers, which I like.
“He has to get used to a little bit of a shuffle, a little bit of a push, where in other leagues the referee might be giving free-kicks. I accept that and like it very much but that’s a bit of naivety he has to leave as soon as possible. But I didn’t see much of that. Miazga’s young, although he looks a little bit older, and the club has to decide what to do for next year, but I don’t mind bringing in youngsters.”
Hiddink went on to praise the efforts of fellow youngster Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who netted a goal in the victory.
With just seven games left in the Premier League season, Chelsea looks unlikely to push for a spot in the UEFA Champions League. Hiddink is somewhat accepting of the fact, and is hoping to give youngsters like Miazga a chance in the absence of centerbacks John Terry and Gary Cahill.
“It’s good for English football having these guys,” Hiddink said. “Other clubs have them too, it’s good to see.
“When you have an Academy like Chelsea has for a long time, it’s not easy, but you must give the players the chance to step up. That’s what we are doing in the second part of the season.”
What do you think of Hiddink’s comments? What do you expect from Miazga in the next several games?
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