When your side is up against it, with their backs against the wall and needing to come out fighting you instinctively turn to the natural leaders to show you the way.
Leaders in football are often those that lead by example, often with an iron will and vocally rallying those around them.
There is only so much Jose can do on the sidelines.
I guarantee that you’re now thinking of John Terry.
And for what it’s worth, I do believe he should be back in the side.
But right now, one man that is trying to drag the whole team out of this slump is not one of our natural leaders.
In fact, given his style and pedigree you’d be forgiven for putting him high on the spectrum of players that are most likely to ‘go missing’ when things get tough.
Well think again.
For all the inconsistent performances around him, our diminutive Brazilian Willian has been a beacon of quality – the type of quality that it take to compete on the biggest stages of them all.
Known for his versatility, Jose has used him inconsistently both in terms of time on the pitch and in a positional sense since he joined the club. And the same has been true this season (the loss to Porto was the first 90 minutes he’s got under his belt since the Community Shield).
The biggest difference is that somehow, he hasn’t let this affect his level of performance. In fact he’s getting better each time we see him.
With goals in his last 3 games, Willian has given Jose food for thought and certainly enough reason to shake up the starting eleven with inadequate performances from more than one of his key midfielders.
Not only his goals but his contribution has improved, his understanding of the game Jose is trying to play and his ball retention in key areas has been noticeable.
This weekend against Southampton we’ll need not only leaders on the pitch, but also those who can perform when things get a little. And, as nice a surprise as it is, Willian seems to be one of those characters.
I only hope for his sake that those around him start to take a leaf from his book. And that he gets a start this weekend too.