Ziyech ‘has to play on the right’, claims former Chelsea defender

Toby Bowles
Ziyech Chelsea

Former Chelsea defender Frank Leboeuf feels a move out to the right-flank would help to unlock the potential of Hakim Ziyech.

The Moroccan international has struggled to find consistency following his £33million transfer from Ajax last summer, registering just five goals and four assists.

Failing to provide any spark as a No.10, he was replaced by N’Golo Kante after 66 minutes in the 2-0 win over Fulham on Saturday – only his 14th start in the Premier League this season.

The 28-year-old has displayed glimpses of real quality at times, but has been unable to cement a regular starting berth under Thomas Tuchel.

Speaking to ESPN about the Ziyech situation, Leboeuf said: “I’m concerned about Hakim Ziyech. If he plays, why doesn’t he [Tuchel] put him on the right?

“I saw him today very frustrated when he came off after playing like a number 10. I don’t think that’s his real position.

“Tuchel really has to think that Ziyech has to play on the right side. It’s like [Riyad] Mahrez, he’s a copy-cat of Mahrez.

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“I don’t see [Pep] Guardiola putting Mahrez in another position than on the right side.”

Although Ziyech has perhaps not had the impact Chelsea would have expected when they brought him to Stamford Bridge, he can be credited with their place in the FA Cup final. Tuchel was full of praise for the Moroccan following the semi-final win over Manchester City, where a single goal from Ziyech was all it took to put Chelsea 90 minutes away from FA Cup glory.

Speaking after that game, Tuchel told MailOnline: “Hakim was very strong against Liverpool and Atletico in the Champions League, but sometimes we have had a different approach with more runners while he is more a dribbler, a passer, a guy who turns in the pockets.

“Decisions are never personal — sometimes it is the players’ characteristics. He showed me he is ready when he has come off the bench, and from what I saw in training. That is the most important thing.

“Now come the crucial weeks and nobody can rest on what we have done. We have to keep on going — everybody who is on the pitch needs to deserve to be there and when you are on the pitch, you must play your part 100 per cent and show that you are reliable. “