Children are wonderful things but I’m starting to notice a comparison between Torres and my own 18 month old son. Now before you go asking to be my son’s agent it’s not based on his footballing ability, in fact its temperament.
In parental circles my son is reaching an age which is called the ‘terrible two’s’. Unfortunately it has nothing to do with potty training, but its the stage that kids start to test the water as to what they can and can’t do. It can cause frustration for the parents as kids will keep pushing the limit to see just how much they can get away with, but when they don’t get their own way your happy smiling child turns into rage and an almighty temper tantrum ensues.
Right now Torres is standing around arms folded, feet stamping, screaming to the high heavens that nothing is going right for him. He probably bellows “I WANA SCORE” in his sleep, his frustration and fury at the current predicament he finds himself in is etched across his face at all times. I get the impression Torres is hitting his terrible two’s period and it’s proving a massive headache for head coach Andre Villas-Boas.
The Spaniard is alleged to have made remarks in the past week about his teammates at Chelsea being “slow” and “old”. Torres denies the remarks, saying the real meaning was lost in translation but whether that is true or not isn’t really the point. Any Liverpool fan can tell you that Torres is turning into a mirror image of himself in his final few months at Anfield.
After a few solid performances early on in his Chelsea career the frustration etched on Torres’ face at the lack of goals is plain to see and you’d be a fool to think that he isn’t blaming Chelsea’s other players in private for his lack of opportunities in front of goal. It’s a natural thing for a striker to do, I’ve even witnessed it as far down as Sunday league level. At first it starts with thinking I’ve been unlucky, the keeper’s made great saves etc. But then slowly the strikers mental thinking turns to blaming others, notably the midfield. Strikers are a special breed of player, they’re the heartless, selfish bastions of our game who thrive on nothing but stats of goals per game ratios and dreams of the next celebration.
The worrying thing for Villas-Boas is that this latest revelation may be the catalyst that finally kills off this Chelsea squad. The majority are old in footballing terms and in the cases of Terry and Lampard, slow too, this dynasty is in its final years. If Torres is criticising the stalwarts of this Chelsea squad while heaping praise on new arrivals like Juan Mata, who he believes may be the solution to his goal scoring problem, then where does it leave the squad in terms of morale and togetherness?
Past issues with certain Chelsea players, Terry and Cole to name obvious ones, have almost certainly created more of a bond within the team, an attitude of ‘we don’t care’ seems to radiate around the Bridge for those not connected with Chelsea. But with the squad now showing a real split between old and new it will be interesting to see how Villas-Boas handles this situation. It will be a huge test of his man management as Torres looks to bed himself with new arrivals and tries to find a saviour in the Chelsea squad who can provide him with goals…..or just one goal, one will probably do for now.
Daniel Sturridge could also be playing a massive role in Torres’ psyche after his impressive role in Chelsea’s win against Sunderland last Saturday. Sturridge has come in from the dark at Chelsea to really threaten the likes of Drogba, Anelka and Torres for a starting berth. I encourage any Chelsea fan to ask themselves Sturridge or Torres? Right now I’d wager most would pick the young Englishmen ahead of the World and European champion.
There is a chance Torres will get his act together before the end of the season and start banging the goals away again. But first he must sort himself out, he looks ready to burst into a tantrum every second he walks around the pitch, especially after another failed attempt but looks even worse when sitting on the bench.
It could very well undermine Chelsea’s season and fracture an already broken squad, Villas-Boas will need to choose his words carefully as he tries to get the best out of Torres and his team, otherwise Chelsea’s new sulking Shevchenko could very well be the undoing of all the Portuguese’s hard work so far.
Twitter - @CraigShields9