Ever since making his switch from Bundesliga outfit Bayer Leverkusen to Chelsea, opinion has been split over Andre Schurrle. For many, he caused excitement as a member of a crop of young, growing German talent with pace, energy and a good goal return. But others were worried about inconsistencies and an insistence to shoot after coming in from the left-hand side.
Of the nine summer arrivals (including returning loanees and Romelu Lukaku), Schurrle has featured more than any other, racking up 196 minutes more than any other arrival. Despite Mourinho’s apparent faith in the Germany winger, many fans are still not convinced.
From the conversations I’ve had, some fans seem to view Schurrle as a much older and more developed player than he is. At the age of 22, he is still part of the group of players referred to by Mourinho as “babies”. Of course, two members of the group in Oscar and Hazard are far more developed than Schurrle. But Chelsea fans (or those who are expecting Schurrle to be the finished article) should be excited at the player he could become.
His current attributes have been there for all to see in his first handful of appearances for the club. He is quick, a direct runner, has strong engine (which helps him to track back – no doubt a factor in Mourinho’s liking). With a plethora of Number 10s, a real sense of direct running is something different that is needed.
For all their qualities, Oscar and Mata would be more likely to make a pass than try to take on a player. But Schurrle’s willingness to run and take people on is reminiscent of the days when Arjen Robben and Damien Duff ran riot on the Stamford Bridge wings. (For the record, I’d probably argue that Hazard is halfway between the running of Schurrle and the passing of Mata/Oscar.)
I agree that his technical abilities have been somewhat hit and miss – his passing is sometimes slack and his shooting and been wayward on occasions. But as he spends more time around word class players and staff, he will develop further. The passing and shooting qualities of Hazard, Mata, Oscar and Co. will rub off on the German, leaving Chelsea with a very dangerous player in years to come.