By Tyler Strauss

Throughout a long season, there are several players that can change the outcome of a season. Whether it’s an in-form goalkeeper, a clinical striker or a midfield maestro, anyone on a squad can carry a team to the finish line.

Chelsea certainly have those players in Diego Costa, Eden Hazard, Cesc Fabregas and Thibaut Courtois. But what about the players who receive less recognition throughout a campaign? The contributions from the likes of Nemanja Matic, Cesar Azpilicueta and Willian often slip under the radar.

It’s important to also analyze the roles of squad players as well. And one of the most important squad players for Chelsea this coming season will be Kurt Zouma.

What makes the 20-year-old so special? Above all it’s his versatility that makes him so valuable to the Jose Mourinho.

A center back by trade, Zouma has been employed all over the pitch in his time with the Blues. In preseason the last two years, Zouma has spent time at both outside back positions, looking comfortable and confident.

“It is a new position for me,” Zouma remarked. “I played there only one time when I was at Vaulx-En-Velin, but I have to help the team and the boss put me at left-back and it was not a problem. I just wanted to play and enjoy the game and the most important thing was that we win and I could help the team.”

Throughout last campaign, Zouma was often employed in a holding midfield role, next to Nemanja Matic. The Frenchman often was tasked with marking key players on opposing teams.

In the Capital One Cup final, Zouma has a major hand in stifling in-form attacker Harry Kane. Furthermore, his marking of Marouane Fellaini in the latter part of the season was a necessity in Chelsea’s 1-0 victory over Manchester United

Zouma has proven time and time again that he is capable of rising up to any challenge that Mourinho throws at him. Whether it’s deputizing Gary Cahill or John Terry, or playing out of position, Zouma continues to be rock solid in West London.

His natural abilities allow him to be such a brilliant defender. The 20-year-old is impeccably quick, boasting height and a strong vertical leap. He is often brilliant in the air, and his speed allows him to track the fastest of attackers.

The English Premier League presents a long and convoluted campaign, brimming of tough games, interesting match ups and controversy. Where it’s important to have star players that make the difference, it’s vital to have role players. Guys that come into a game, and do a job, often times imperative to getting the maximum amount of points available.

Jose Mourinho has made a career in being successful with role players. Whether it was Claude Makelele, Javier Zanetti and Ricardo Carvalho. Now Kurt Zouma is his new versatile star. He can play all over the pitch, and to the Portuguese Tactician, there aren’t more valuable players. Kurt Zouma will be utilized in excess this season, and should Chelsea achieve success, he’ll be a major reason for their glory.

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