The midfielder’s different positions during her first Chelsea season fall under the microscope…

One of the Chelsea players of the moment is Sjoeke Nusken. The young German international who signed in the summer has, in the past two games, scored two important goals in each of them as an attacking player, having in the two matches previously played at centre-back and helped keep a clean sheet in both.

The 23-year-old is our second-highest goalscorer this season with 10 goals to her name, and her adaptability has even allowed her to play right-back against Sunderland in the League Cup, and she scored two goals that night too.

As we wait to see where Nusken will be deployed in the London derby encounter at West Ham this weekend, Emma Hayes has been analysing one of the newer additions to her impressive squad and discussing the player’s best positions, including the view of the German national team, and how the Chelsea manager sees it all evolving.

‘Sjoeke is a rookie player in this club but we all knew how good she was going to be,’ Hayes begins.

‘I particularly prefer her higher up [the pitch] because I think she's got so many goals in her. Her xG for the team in general is extremely high and it's one of the reasons why we play her so high, but I think she’ll be a top no.6, a top no.8, a top centre-half, no problem.

‘I see her somewhere between the eight and the ten position - it's the goal threat. She's superb in the air, superb in the tackle, brilliant stretching [the opposition] in behind. She fills spaces really well and is a good decision-maker.

‘She has to work on her back-to-goal-play, we’ve talked about that this week. I think she'll end up somewhere in centre-midfield but with an attacking emphasis.’

Conscious that positions can change as players become more experienced and acclimatised to a new challenge, Hayes reveals that she initially earmarked a midfield no.6 role for Nusken for when she first arrived, although the plan for the Germany national team is central defence.

‘They made that clear to me. They want her to be a centre-back,’ says Hayes. ‘I recruited her as an eight in my mind because I thought she just had too much about her going forward.

‘When you play the six position, you have to have a lot of discipline to hold. It's not just shuffling side to side. You've got to occupy the central corridor, you got to be disciplined to not get drawn out, or drawn up to the ball out of possession. Sjoeke’s got a tendency where she wants to win the ball almost everywhere.’

Instead it is Nusken’s compatriot Melanie Leupolz who has been developed to play the more disciplined midfield role, allowing Erin Cuthbert and Nusken to play with greater freedom.

‘They've probably got more similarities although, and Erin’s going to kill me for saying this, Sjoeke has got more goal threat than Erin,’ Hayes claims.

‘We realised very early on in the season the number of touches she was having in the box, the number of xG created - she was topping that chart for us as a team - and once we lost Sam Kerr, she was a player we had to put in those areas.

‘And what I've really liked about watching her and Lauren James together is she fills the spaces so Lauren can come and get on the ball and if Lauren stretches, she'll come a little bit lower. It's quite natural rotation between them.

‘Nusken’s always willing to do the dirty work, she’ll run for fun. She's threatening from set-pieces. We always identified her as a complete player.

‘Did we think she would make this impact? In pre-season everybody in our squad talked about her, they knew she was a proper player, and she's getting everything she deserved.

‘But she's really humble and hardworking. She cycles to work every day and in fact I nearly killed her at Kingsmeadow the other week with the way she flies around! I told her that. She's finally got a helmet. She had a couple of weeks where she questioned whether she needed one. I said yeah, you need that.

‘She’s an absolute Chelsea player. She's got the spirit, the soul, the fight. She loves playing for the badge and you can see that.’