In the first part of our special interview with Chelsea’s new club captain yesterday, Cesar Azpilicueta shared his thoughts on leading the side and recalled skippering at youth international level. Today he talks more about influential figures from the past and about leading a young Chelsea side this season…
Learning from Frank Lampard and John Terry
‘John Terry was part of my career here at Chelsea. He was the captain and I had the chance to see him every day on and off the pitch,’ continues Azpilicueta, having yesterday highlighted his good fortune in sharing the dressing room with some important players.
‘The way he trained and the way he was living the team. He was a big influence and it is something that you take with you and you put in your bag. It is a big help.’
One of those big names for a time was of course Frank Lampard – vice-captain to JT back then. It almost goes without saying that it helps Azpilicueta as captain under our current manager to know so well what made him tick as a player.
The way Lampard was always ready for every training session has stuck with the Spaniard. He remembers seeing his then team-mate staying after training, kicking ball after ball to work on his famous finishing.
‘It is something I could see when we were sharing the dressing room, now I can see it as a manager,’ he adds. ‘His passion, his desire to win. He is a winner.
‘I reflect that in myself, the way I come here to Cobham. I know the club quite well, a lot of people who are around and I really feel involved in the day-to-day club life. I have passion when I go to the training ground. I always like to win every single possession game or whatever in training. I want to get that into the games where I am very proud to lead the team.’
The Chelsea Academy
With Chelsea this season fielding our youngest sides in Premier League history, the role of the experienced captain perhaps has extra significance as a new era at the club is forged.
‘It is a new challenge and it is something unusual to have a transfer ban,’ Azpilicueta agrees.
‘We have a lot of players coming through the Academy and it is a big responsibility and I enjoy the role. I have had the chance to play a lot of games and win trophies so my responsibility is to help all of them, to get them into the team with confidence to show what they have shown in the Academy or with the loan spells where they were very successful.
‘I am always ready to help them when they need it. They know I am here to help them but what I always had is the passion and the hunger to keep winning and it is something that we must never lose.’
Speaking of losses, it is one of the less enviable tasks of a captain that he is often the one that has to face the media immediately after a setback on the pitch.
‘It is hard,’ he says of those hopefully rare occasions.
’Sometimes you don’t want to be there because of the emotions or the feeling but I have the experience, I have this characteristic in myself that I always face reality. At times when not being captain I did it as well and now we have a younger team, sometimes you have to show your face and it is part of the job.’
It is part of the job that is more than balanced out by lifting trophies at the end of successful campaigns, which is where we commenced this interview.
‘I always felt part of the team when things are going well or when they are going wrong,’ he sums up.
‘I am first to analyse and to improve, first of all myself because I am someone who always likes to win and to try to get as close as possible to perfection.
‘With my personality, with my passion, with my character I try to influence everyone next to me in every training session and every game. With the fans when we have tough moments I am the first to be there and to help anyone. We know we are in Chelsea and we have a lot of responsibilities, on and off the pitch, and you have to be ready in every moment.’