Graham Potter warns Hakim Ziyech to expect more time on Chelsea bench despite playmaker’s World Cup heroics with Morocco


HAKIM ZIYECH must still prove himself at Chelsea despite his World Cup wonders. The winger has been brought down to earth with a bump after starring for Morocco on their way to the semi finals . Ziyech has found holding down a place under boss Graham Potter at Stamford Bridge difficult and he i constantly linked with a move away to ease his pain. Yet he started every one of his country’s seven matches in Qatar as they proved to be the dark horses of the tournament in reaching the last four. Potter said:

“He played against Man City, came on against Newcastle. Where he was at when we first came was a little bit away from the first XI. “He's been involved in the games and came on in the first game as a sub. We know his qualities, we like him as a player, he plays between the lines wit fantastic quality as we saw in the World Cup.

“At Chelsea there are always good players who aren't in the starting XI and have to be patient. “I am delighted for him, we kept in touch with him over the World Cup. I am delighted for him that he got gametime, delighted for him that he helped his team, he's a good guy and he's got quality.”

Ziyech, 29, will be one of the last two of Chelsea’s heavy World Cup contingent to report back for duty after the tournament. Croatian midfielder Mateo Kovacic, whom he faced in the third and fourth place play-off, is also being allowed time off for their extended run. The rest are back in training alongside those who missed out for selection or injury reasons.

Right back Reece James played more than an hour of a behind-closed-doors friendly at Brentford on Tuesday as Chelsea gear up for their return to Premier League action against Bournemouth on the 27th. Potter may face a keeper dilemma with Senegal number one Edouard Mendy only just back in training and rival Kepa Arrizabalaga nearing the end of his rehab from a lengthy foot injury.

Chelsea spent a week earlier this month in Abu Dhabi with their crocks and non-internationals having warm weather training. Potter said:

“We've used the time as best we can. The first days we had four players to work with. It would
 have been ideal to play Bournemouth at five- a-side, that would be good, but we can't. “We used the young players, we upped the ideas, tried to consolidate the learning and make more connections with people at the club.

“You forget you have this intense period and you're still getting to know everyone around the building. We could do that, we had a really good period together so that helped that. The feeling is positive so we're looking forward to the game.”

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