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Tormented Torres needs love

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Chelsea's Fernando Torres needs support from his teammates and fans.

London – Strikers are sensitive fellows. They want to be loved. But I do wonder if Fernando Torres should come out and say: “It’s not all my fault, there are 10 others out there.”

It’s easy to hammer him. I don’t believe he’s a bad player but he has lost that extra yard when he could embarrass defenders with his acceleration one on one.

You can analyse his game: playing too far from goal, he’s not being fed with an early pass (like he used to when playing with Steven Gerrard at Liverpool) and his confidence is low. He’s stuck in a rut. But is he feeling loved right now? Does he feel those teammates in his dressing room are doing all they can to create chances for their main spearhead? Are they trying to help him?

I don’t believe the answer to any of those questions is ‘yes’.

My old Arsenal teammate, Ian Wright, was an individual within a team and he loved centre stage. If he scored in the first half, I’d say to him at half time: “Go and score a hat-trick.” He loved the headlines, he wanted to be on the back pages.

Tony Cottee, whom I played with at Everton, counted his goals. He wanted to score and didn’t seem to worry about too much more.

Thierry Henry would not be denied. If there was an obstacle in his path, he’d overcome it. The message I learned from playing with Thierry is this: ability conquers everything in the end.

Chelsea, as a club, are strangling themselves – and I feel sympathy for both Rafa Benitez and Torres. They have gone six games without a victory and it is early days for Benitez, yet he has been swamped by an unhealthy reaction to his appointment from the supporters.

This is a club where you feel there’s always a power struggle with the players and now there’s a power struggle with the fans. Get over it! Get on with it! They’re making it harder for themselves.

They need new leaders in a team who have lost Didier Drogba (released), Frank Lampard and John Terry (injured), and they will sell Ashley Cole in the summer. Players must stop hiding and take responsibility. It doesn’t help that Torres is struggling and his stats do not make for attractive reading – he hasn’t scored for 10 hours and 49 minutes. Can he overturn this negativity? I don’t know. He’s a long way from the player he once was. But they visit West Ham on Saturday and it will be a relief to get away from Stamford Bridge: for Torres and his manager. It could be the game they’ve both been waiting for. – Daily Mail


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