I wanted to hone in on some comments from Alan Shearer this week because whilst I do agree, I also wanted to remind people of some other facts.
I think there has been a bit of an unfair ‘pile on’ as such on Jackson this week. The thing that happened with the fan criticising him in the stands and Mauricio Pochettino then turning to said fan and getting in a debate, or whatever you want to call it, is just the opposite of what we need right now.
We are all fully frustrated, and as I always say on here we do have a right as a fan to say what we think and offer critique to players. I do it here, it’s all part and parcel of being a fan. I’ve been vocal on the fact that we needed a more proven striker this summer, and I’ve been vocal with my doubts on Jackson.
But the fact remains that Jackson has only turned 22 this summer, and we all expected and said that he would be quite raw.
So it’s not Jackson’s fault that we didn’t sign another striker to carry some of the weight of the pressure and really, it was unfair to put the weight of the world on a young and unproven striker to come in and take the almost impossible (of late) job of being the main man up top for Chelsea.
We all highlighted the concerns with Armando Broja coming back from a long time out and unfortunately those concerns are being proven correct as well. So to throw all the pressure on Jackson and expect him to hit the ground running this season was just not wise.
But once again, it’s a catch-22 situation because Chelsea need results, they need goals, and they need their striker to be scoring them. And Jackson right now, whilst looking very bright early on in pre-season, is just not doing that.
Alan Shearer on the Brentford game, Jackson and strikers: “They were never ever going to score today Chelsea.
“To be more prolific you have to get yourself into scoring positions. There was a complete lack of movement from him [Nicolas Jackson] today. He looks very raw and at times unsure what to do. You’ve got to make defenders work. Goalscorers don’t hang around on the edge of the box like he does. It’s his job to get on the end of it.
“Chelsea were really poor in the final third. They are now talking about [Christopher] Nkunku being back with him being injured but he’s not really a centre forward is he, so that is going to put unnecessary pressure on him. If anyone had Chelsea in and around the top four, I don’t see that happening at all.”
Shearer isn’t wrong here, but the risk we took with not signing a proven centre forward and resting the weight on the shoulders of a 21-year-old (at the time) and a player just back from a very long injury, is what is causing comments like this, and the reaction from the fan shouting at Jackson at the game on Saturday.
Pundits are going to offer critique, fans are going to call things as they see them, even if some are being overly harsh.
But Jackson is ‘very raw’ as Shearer says. Whether he ends up coming good in the long run or not, it is factual that he is raw, and it was always going to be a risk.
We all want to be patient, and we all should show a bit more patience with Jackson. I think most of us understand we are in a rebuild and things will take time with bumps in the road. But I see a young guy with the pressures of fronting up at Chelsea really getting to him. He has been playing with his head down and I really feel for him.
I always say that youngsters need to play to develop. But for once, in Jackson’s situation right now, I think him coming in off the bench gradually being introduced game by game, just like we are currently doing with Mykhailo Mudryk, and then playing alongside a proven striker and coming on with him and learning from him, would be the absolute best way of developing Jackson right now.
I’m not writing him off despite having doubts. And I really do feel for him. I will always call performances as I see them on here. But we should always also look at the bigger picture as well. He’s young, and he’s raw. He’s got a lot to learn.