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How Nicolas Jackson proved Alan Shearer wrong and turned his Chelsea career around

The man who got The Godfather made – by making friends with the Mob
Published Time: 15.05.2024 - 11:40:25 Modified Time: 15.05.2024 - 11:40:25

Senegal international has scored 14 goals in the League this campaign – more than Rasmus Hojlund, Darwin Núñez and Kai Havertz have managed Getty Images/Robbie Jay Barratt Rewind six months and Nicolas Jackson might have been reluctant to get too close to the Chelsea supporters who berated him from the Stamford Bridge stands

Senegal international has scored 14 goals in the League this campaign – more than Rasmus Hojlund, Darwin Núñez and Kai Havertz have managed

: Getty Images/Robbie Jay Barratt

Rewind six months and Nicolas Jackson might have been reluctant to get too close to the Chelsea supporters who berated him from the Stamford Bridge stands.

But Jackson is changing opinions – just ask Alan Shearer – and his first instinct after scoring his 14th Premier League goal of the season was to jump straight into Chelsea’s travelling fans at Nottingham Forest’s City Ground.

It was a moment symbolic of the way in which Jackson has managed to make even his biggest critics doubt themselves, as he prepares to face Brighton and Hove Albion with Chelsea on Wednesday night.

Jackson’s 14 League goals have put him ahead of Rasmus Hojlund, Darwin Núñez and Kai Havertz for the season, and just five behind Aston Villa’s Ollie Watkins, who has deservedly made a number of pundits’ team of the season lists.

In total, the 22-year-old has scored 17 times and assisted on six occasions. But, perhaps just as significantly in Chelsea’s injury-ravaged season, Jackson has remained fit and available.

He has made 42 appearances in a debut season as Chelsea’s only fit out-and-out striker and played almost 4,000 minutes without missing a single game through injury, despite undergoing wrist surgery and playing with a splint.

Jackson has proved himself to be a fighter and has forced an about turn from Shearer, who did not hold back in his initial criticism of the former Villarreal man on Match of the Day, at which time he had only scored two League goals.

Shearer accused Jackson of displaying a “complete lack of movement” and failing to display the instincts of a striker after the home defeat to Brentford in which the Senegal international had been distracted by heckling from a Chelsea fan in the Stamford Bridge stands.

: Shutterstock/Javier Garcia

But, 12 League goals and six months later, Shearer was much more positive in his analysis of Jackson after the victory over Forest in which he scored the winner and celebrated with the Chelsea supporters.

“He’s definitely raw but there is big potential there,” said Shearer on Match of the Day. “He’s good at running with the ball, his runs in behind are really intelligent. It’s that final thing where he’s got to brush up on and get in behind. He’s 22 years of age, 29 starts, 14 goals…I think that’s a decent return.”

Mauricio Pochettino had watched Shearer’s critique of Jackson after the Brentford defeat. Asked if had watched Match of the Day last Saturday to see Shearer’s latest opinion of the forward, Chelsea’s head coach said: “No, but I heard.

‘We need to create things that the fans really love’

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