Can Omeruo start playing first team football in Chelsea next season?
Kenneth Omeruo has had a good tournament this World Cup defensively as the Nigerians have looked lacklustre offensively but have managed to keep two out of two clean sheets against comparatively weaker Iran but offensively stronger Bosnia and Herzegovina. The stats that the Nigerian centre back has had this time, are actually better than that of Gary Cahill. Cahill has faced two extremely tough opponents in Itay and Uruguay but he has still emerged as England’s best defender, yet Kenneth Omeruo, Nigeria’s star does look like he could do well as Chelsea’s back up first team option.
Stat Attack: Omeruo must not be ignored
Let us have a comparison between Omeruo’s and Cahill’s stats. As we know from last season, Gary Cahill is one of our best defenders and Omeruo is amongst our future prospects. Omeruo and Cahill both have managed similar number of clearances with Cahill clearing 19 times and Omeruo clearing 17 times. Cahill has won 3 tackles and Omeruo has won 7 tackles. While Cahill has not blocked any shot as yet, Omeruo has managed three outfield blocks. Cahill and Omeruo have similar stats in winning duels, as Cahill won 12 and the Nigerian won 15, while the Englishman has 5 aerial duels to his name in comparison to Omeruo’s 6. Plus the most important of stats, the goals conceded, is where Cahill can be forgiven as England conceded 2 each against much stronger opponents than what Nigeria faced. By looking at the stats, we come to know that Omeruo can perform at the top level.
It can be a bit harsh to compare the abilities of Cahill and Omeruo based on these two World Cup matches, but given a hypothetical situation where Cahill and Omeruo exchanged each other’s teams and Omeruo played for England instead of Cahill, we wouldn’t expect a totally out of place performance from the Nigerian as he is well capable of top level football as an individual defender.
As Chelsea are looking forward to have a strong central defence especially after Terry’s retirement, which would come soon in the coming seasons, Kenneth Omeruo does become an important player in the mind of Jose Mourinho. Not only do his World Cup performances speak, but also his performances on loan and his spells with Nigeria in other competitions. Omeruo can add bulk to Chelsea’s back-line with some raw talent and ability.
It is not clear whether the young Nigerian will be on loan or with the team in the coming season, but it definitely looks as if he is not going to be sold. He is proving to be a great prospect who may partner Kurt Zouma in defence in the future. But in worldwide fans’ opinion, Omeruo should be kept with the team so that he trains with the best defence in the league and a coach who extracts the best out of defenders. Probably it will take him another season or two to become a starter for the Blues, but he definitely looks one of Mourinho’s dark horses whom the Portuguese maestro can build into a star.