Nicolas Jackson rejects Chelsea's No 9 Jersey

Nicolas Jackson rejects Chelsea's No 9 Jersey


Nicolas Jackson rejects Chelsea's No 9 Jersey

Leading the line for Chelsea is by no means easy. Enough have tried and failed, from Romelu Lukaku and Fernando Torres to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alvaro Morata, all of whom wore the No 9 shirt which is considered cursed in the corridors of their Cobham training ground.

Jackson had the chance to take that number when he arrived from Villarreal but declined, despite having sported it for Senegal.

It left Chelsea as one of a handful of Premier League clubs without a designated No 9, the others being Aston Villa, Tottenham, Newcastle and Wolves.

Jackson instead opted for the unorthodox No 15 instead – the same number worn by Didier Drogba when he first arrived at Chelsea.

Comparisons to Drogba were inevitable because of those digits on his back

Drogba scored 10 Premier League goals from 26 games in his first season, winning the title under Jose Mourinho. Jackson is now on nine from 24 in a campaign that has Chelsea sitting 11th.

Mauricio Pochettino says with time, he will learn how to exude calmness in front of goal, having spent this season pleading for patience from supporters when it comes to this Premier League newbie.

Jackson’s most admirable trait is arguably his ability to realise he will make mistakes and refuse to let them hinder him.

Against Brentford, he tackled himself while trying to perform step-overs in the box – another moment to feed the social media meme machine.

Jackson responded by burying a bullet header, celebrating by quieting the Brentford supporters who had been giving him stick at the Gtech Community Stadium.

Against Newcastle, he scored after six minutes, a deft flick so disguised that even the Stamford Bridge announcer originally awarded the goal to Cole Palmer.

Replays showed it was a moment worthy of Chelsea’s earliest Premier League goal since 2018.

He scored a second which was disallowed by the assistant’s flag, having not held his run enough to beat the offside trap.

Later, his flicked header set up Raheem Sterling for a one-on-one from which he should have secured his fourth assist of the season.

For all the criticism, Jackson is showing why it would be wrong to categorise him as a dud when he is 22, in his first campaign with Chelsea, leading the line for a club that has gone through a major change, and doing just fine.

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