By Walter Broeckx
Buy Hazard. How many times a day do you hear this being said by a Gooner? And how many times do you see it written down by a Gooner? Is it 10 times a day or is it 100 times a day? It will be somewhere in between I say.
So let me try to give you some more information about him and also maybe spell out a small warning about Hazard.
So Eden Hazard is 20 years old, born on 7th January 1991 in La Louvière and this is situated in the French speaking part of Belgium. He started his career at his local club RS Brainois and then went to Tubize a mostly 2nd or 3rd division club who played one season in the Jupiler (Premier) league in recent years. Then the scouts of Lille (in France as there is also a little village in Flanders with the same name as some Liverpool fans have found out) saw him play and brought him over. Lille is not far from the Belgium border so from where he lived it was not that far away.
The father of Hazard was also a football player in his younger days for La Louviere and he played most of his career in the Belgium second division as a midfielder. And his mother also was a football player in her days. He also has a younger brother Thorgan (17 years) who is also very talented. He is playing for Lens for the moment and another younger brother Kylian who will go to Lille when he turns 16 later this year. So a bit of a football family.
And to make the family complete on 18 December 2010 Eden Hazard became a father of Yannis. Hazard was only 19 at the time. So if he comes over he will have a common thing with Jack to talk about.
So that’s the family, but what about the football? Well he has been voted twice to the most talented player in the Ligue 1 in the last seasons. And this at the age of 18 and 19 years old. Not a bad thing I would say. He has been named in the team of the season by L’Equipe. Also not bad for a player of his age.
He has played some 132 games for Lille so far (a very high number for a player of his age) and in those games he has scored 25 goals and this is also not a bad thing for a player of his age.
And besides scoring he also gives as many assists if not more than he scores. This season so far 5 goals and 7 assists in 28 games.
So what is keeping Wenger from reaching for this pocket and write the cheque? Well because as most things in life and like any coin has two sides there is also the other side of Eden Hazard.
Let us start with his performances at Lille. At the start of the season he played like a pale imitation of himself. He seemed uninterested, nonchalant. In fact the Lille manager at one moment put him on the bench to let him know that if he carried on like that he wouldn’t play. He then also admitted (if we can believe the press) that he found it difficult to motivate himself at the time. But for Lille he came back and he has a big and influential part of them being first in Ligue 1.
For a player with his talent it is interesting that he isn’t yet a regular in the Belgium national team. When he has started he usually disappointed and in his 19 appearances for the national team he hasn’t scored a goal. So he cannot impose himself on the international stage. And in the Belgium national team players like Chadli (“who” I hear you say?) and Dembele (yes from Fulham) are chosen to start and not Hazard.
The rest of the world doesn’t understand why it is that Hazard is waiting on the bench but again there is a bit of attitude problem going on.
The former national team manager Dick Advokaat wanted to throw Hazard out of the national team if he kept on training like he did. And again the same words: “nonchalant” and “disinterested” were used. The assistant coach of the national team Wilmots convinced Advokaat to have a bit more patience with Hazard but he couldn’t make it as a regular starter.
And now under the new coach Georges Leekens it is still difficult for Hazard to get in the starting line up. And assistant Wilmots has explained that if Hazard wants to start in the national team he not only needs to make run forwards but he has to start working for the team. He has to start to defend. He must work harder when his team doesn’t have the ball. Not just stand still and look at how the others defend and then wait to make an action when he gets the ball delivered at his feet.
So for all the gold that seems to be shining for Hazard you also must take notice of his flaws in his game. It seems that he takes it a bit easy at times.
The good thing is that this is something that can be corrected. He is still very young and with a manager that gives him the message of working harder or you won’t play (like his coach at Lille did) it can work. He started playing better and better since being dropped to the bench a few times. For the Belgium national team it hasn’t worked yet as there are other players who play and are doing a good job and working their socks off.
So yes I would like it if Arsenal bought Hazard but I would be holding my breath to see which Hazard we will see. Will it be the hard working one or will we see a lazy player on the pitch who let his team mates do the hard work and just stands their and watch them run? We know how some fans dislike Arshavin for his body language and nonchalant strolling around the pitch at times. Well maybe Hazard can be compared with Arshavin at times. But as Arshavin is a player who is at the end of his peak, Hazard is still very young and can improve on that part of his game.
Now as a final note on the Belgium national team: their behaviour when it comes to injured players. We know by know that the Belgium national team knew that Vermaelen was already injured before the game against Turkey. They still played him and as a result we have lost him for the whole season. One would think they would learn from this. No, they just carry on like they did. Because now Van Buyten is injured and out for Bayern Munich and our national team manager admitted that they knew Van Buyten was already injured before the game but they took the risk. So once again this shows that the managers of the national teams have no respect for the teams who are paying the wages of their players. Disgusting.
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