Interview

Hasselbaink excited by Chelsea’s striking options

Few are as well-placed to pass comment on Chelsea strikers as Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and the Dutchman believes there is plenty to be excited about when assessing the attacking options at Stamford Bridge ahead of the new campaign…

During his four years leading the line for the Blues, Hasselbaink established himself as a firm fans’ favourite as he smashed in 87 goals following a club-record signing in the summer of 2000. He formed a telepathic striking partnership with Eidur Gudjohnsen and consistently showcased the art of goalscoring in all its various forms.

Over 16 years since he departed west London, Hasselbaink views the current generation of forwards as capable of achieving great things.

‘I'm excited for Chelsea and the strikers they have now,’ said the 48-year-old this week. ‘Tammy [Abraham] and [Timo] Werner are both improving in different aspects of their play and their careers.

‘Tammy is young so he has things to learn and improve on but what I've been impressed with is his movement, which you could see got better throughout the last season.

Hasselbaink was particularly impressed with how quickly Abraham adapted to regular Premier League and Champions League football last term, growing into the number nine shirt, and feels he will only improve by learning from more established strikers next season.

‘It was a season with great pressure for him, leading the line for a big team with big expectations,’ Hasselbaink reflected in 2019/20.

‘Now he has the pressure of not only repeating that, but building on it and taking his game to the next level to continue his progress. That challenge can bring the best out of players - those with the right attitude and desire to succeed.

‘With Olivier Giroud behind him, Tammy has a great teacher. I was impressed with how he [Giroud] finished the season and Tammy can learn so much from him, like how he holds up the ball. That's a vital part of a striker's game.’

Abraham will have stiff competition for the starting striker’s spot this season following the signing of Werner from RB Leipzig and Hasselbaink already likes what he has seen from the German.

‘Werner is so calm in front of goal,’ he added. ‘He has ice in his veins. He has so many of the natural qualities that you can't teach a striker, like that calm, killer instinct.

‘He is a very, very good buy. Werner gives Chelsea an extra edge in front of goal now. I'm excited to see him play.

‘Werner has an ability to change games when they're tight, scoring the important goals. That's what any team needs; it's what Chelsea need. He has proven his quality in the Bundesliga and now he is here in the Premier League to do the same.

‘He's an exciting talent and I rate him very highly.’

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