Given his eye-catching influence and the titles he has won since he joined Chelsea in 2012, it may surprise some that this week Eden Hazard was handed only his second EA Sports Premier League Player of the Month trophy.
The 27-year-old was named September’s winner last week for a month in which he helped the Blues remain unbeaten.
His award was presented to him at Cobham by three participants from our Chelsea Foundation Girls-Only Football Academy programme, following his return from international duty. It is the fact he contributed five of the seven goals we scored in the competition that swung the vote in his favour after such a long gap since his previous such honour, which was back in October 2016.
‘It is a good feeling,’ Hazard said. ‘It is always a good feeling when you win something. We had a great month, we had good results, I scored a lot of goals, that is why I won but now I just need to keep going like this, scoring goals, trying to win games and at the end, try to win trophies.
‘We are in good form, not just myself but the whole team,’ he added. ‘We are at the top of the league, we are scoring goals at the moment and we are winning games so now after the international break we want to do the same on Saturday against Man United.
‘I have played good games in the past but at the moment the only difference is I am scoring a lot of goals so that is why I think I am better now. This year I am scoring goals and trying to create chances.’
Hazard is the Premier League’s top scorer this season with seven goals to his name, two more than the next four on the list. He confirmed Maurizio Sarri’s methods are helping the team as a whole.
‘He is a great manager, we have that freedom on the pitch, and when we don’t have the ball, we know what to do so it is quite simple. We try to find spaces and we have a lot of good players and good confidence.’
Jaz Backhurst, Chelsea-Ann Woods and Calesse Nymn were the three from our Chelsea Foundation Girls-Only Football Academy programme, in association with Blenheim High School, who presented Hazard with his award.
They were then given the opportunity to pose for photographs before receiving a signed shirt from the Belgian.
After presenting Hazard with his award, Jaz Backhurst said: ‘It’s surreal, you see him on TV week in week out and then the next minute he’s there stood next to me so it was a little crazy.
‘We only found out the night before that we were coming to the training ground but it wasn’t until the morning that we found out we were going to be meeting Eden Hazard.
‘He’s my favourite player so it has been a little overwhelming to see him.’
Launched in September 2018, the Sixth Form Football Academy in Epsom allows girls aged 16 to 18 to benefit from the unique opportunity of having an academic-led post-16 education and being able to gain A-level qualifications alongside a full programme of professional football coaching.
Backhurst added: ‘It’s great to have the Chelsea Foundation coaches coming in – they have such vast experience and they really concentrate on our technical ability.
‘I also play for Millwall so working with them and the Foundation, I have high standards throughout the whole week!’