Glenn Hoddle: On Chelsea, Spurs title talk, Rice and Paolo Rossi


rom whether Frank Lampard is right to say it is “ridiculous” to say Chelsea are title contenders to his memories of Italy legend Paolo Rossi and whether he would take Garth Crooks and Steve Archibald over Harry Kane and Heung-min Son, here Standard Sport’s new columnist Glenn Hoddle answers your questions and picks out the player he will be watching closing this week.

Ann: What did you make of Frank Lampard’s comments on Saturday that it is “ridiculous” to say Chelsea are title contenders because their squad is not ready to challenge this season?

It is a little bit like Jose Mourinho saying Tottenham are like a “little pony” in the race compared to the thoroughbred racehorses. I can see where Frank is coming from.

But if there is ever a season where someone can come through and win the Premier League, it could be this year. You only have to look at the results this past weekend. Now Chelsea brought in Timo Werner, Kai Havertz and Hakim Ziyech, they have unbelievable firepower, and they have brought Thiago Silva in and brought in a goalkeeper which seems to have sorted their defensive issues.

I can see why Frank is underplaying it, and yes Liverpool and Manchester City are still the favourites, but Chelsea and Tottenham are in with a fighting chance.

Clive: Garth Crooks and Steve Archibald or Harry Kane and Heung-min Son – who would you have in your team today?

( Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images )

That is such a good question! That is so difficult for me.

I have got to go with the players I played with. Listen, I would love to play out there with Harry Kane and Son now, absolutely. But Archibald and Crooks just suited my game absolutely down to the ground, I suited them and they suited me. Because I had options to plant that ball in behind defenders and they made those runs.

So because I played with them, I have to say Archibald and Crooks! And probably just in case I bump into them!

David: How has Declan Rice developed his game this season. Can we keep hold of him at West Ham if we keep progressing under David Moyes?

( Getty Images )

That is the big question for West Ham. They are having a great season and he is having a great season himself. We know he has defensive abilities, we know can slip into defence if needed, so he smells danger quite well. He keeps the ball and I think he is just now adding a little bit more to his passing.

That is where he has to improve a little bit, he needs a bit more penetration in his pass. I think he sees the pass, but I thought he was a bit reserved in thinking he did not want to give it away so played it safe. That is the next step for him and I see signs of him coming out of that and improving.

He plays with Tomas Soucek in midfield, I think they have a nice balance there where he knows when he can burst forward and affect the game in a positive way. When Soucek goes, he sits. He is a good player now but in two or three years’ time, and West Ham fans will not want to hear me say this, I think he could move to a top club.

Enzo: What are your memories of Paolo Rossi and that 1982 World Cup when he starred for Italy?

( Paolo Rossi, pictured here in 1982 during the World Cup, has died aged 64 / Getty Images )

There is no better example than that wonderful game against Brazil in the 1982 World Cup when he scored a hat-trick. That brilliant Brazil team could not stop him. He was an unbelievable striker and adored scoring goals. You could never go to sleep against him.

It was another sad loss to football.

My player to watch this week is… James Ward-Prowse.

He has had a great season and is a big part of the reason Southampton are doing as well as they are. I think he can sneak into the England team and one that some of the big clubs might come sniffing around. Southampton play Arsenal on Wednesday and I am looking forward to seeing how he continues to develop this season.

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