Former Chelsea defender Scott Minto has urged the Stamford Bridge faithful to give Nicolas Jackson the benefit of the doubt amid the striker’s sluggish start in the Premier League.
Jackson swapped Villarreal for London in a deal worth £32 million in June and enjoyed a decent pre-season with Mauricio Pochettino’s troops, getting on the scoresheet twice.
However, the 22-year-old forward has found the goals hard to come by in the Premier League, netting just once in six league appearances for the downtrodden Blues.
While the numbers aren’t there yet, the Senegal international has shown plenty of promise, with his physical attributes perfectly suiting Premier League requirements.
There’s room for improvement at a technical level and especially finishing, but Jackson’s speed and strength have stood out as his most prominent features.
Minto has backed the ex-Villarreal man to follow in the footsteps of legendary Chelsea forward Didier Drogba and become the club’s headline performer.
“I really like Nicolas Jackson, and I think if you give him time, he will be a top Premier League striker,” he told talkSPORT.
“I look at him and his strong, he is fast, he has defenders hanging off him, he’s sharp, and wants to work back for the team.
“The only thing he is lacking at the moment is sticking the ball in the back of the net.
“Didier Drogba, when he first came to Chelsea, some of the fans weren’t having him straight away. He took time to settle.
“I really like him [Jackson], and I am telling you there is a really good player there.”
Minto may have a point
Like Jackson, Drogba was an unknown entity when he landed in the Premier League in 2004 after a season-long stint at Marseille.
The Ivorian had a similar start to life at Chelsea.
His first goal for the Blues came on matchday three in a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace. Likewise, Jackson made his Premier League breakthrough in round three, helping Pocehttino’s side thump Luton Town 3-0.
Drogba’s second goal for the club came on Gameweek 7 as he finished his first season with ten Premier League goals.
If you take a closer look at his season-by-season statistics, you’d see he only hit double digits in five of his nine Premier League campaigns across two separate spells at Chelsea.
But Drogba’s influence was paramount, as could be the case with Jackson if he can show more composure in the front third.
Luck is often a critical factor in football, but it has turned its back on the Senegalese star multiple times this season.
It’s unfathomable how his close-range attempt against Nottingham Forest skied over the crossbar while the post denied his thunderous effort from outside the box against Bournemouth last week.
The chances keep coming for Jackson, which is a good sign, but he must work on his finishing if he’s to reach Drogba’s heights.
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