Eden Hazard is running the risk of getting in Jose Mourinho's bad books by missing training sessions - and the 22-year-old needs to grow up quickly.
Chelsea star Eden Hazard watched last night's 3-0 win over Schalke from the stands, and despite Twitter reports suggesting the Belgian international was injured, manager Jose Mourinho has confirmed that that wasn't the case.
Instead, Hazard was banished from the team because he missed a “crucial training session”, and didn't even make the substitutes bench against the German side, but Mourinho insists that the former Lille forward will learn his lesson, and return to the squad.
“I don’t want to lie. He’s not injured. He forgot the time. Let’s end the story. He’s a kid, kids make mistakes and fathers they have to be clever in the way they educate their sons. He didn’t play, he wanted to play. He’s sad because he wanted to play. We won without him and Saturday he’s back. End of story.”
Chelsea impressed in Hazard absence though, smashing Schalke 3-0 to put the Blues top of Group E by three points. A brace from Samuel Eto'o and a Demba Ba goal gave Chelsea the win, and whilst the major talking point was Hazard's omission, Mourinho backed his replacements Willian and Andre Schurrle.
“I prefer to say that Willian and André Schürrle made fantastic work for us. We have a big squad, we have players with quality, players who sometimes are frustrated because they are not first options but when they are chosen they do so well.”
Somewhat worryingly,this isn't Hazard's first run-in with a manager of his timekeeping. Former Belgium manager Georges Leekens criticised Hazard's effort, commitment and punctuality, whilst current boss Marc Wilmots also claimed that Hazard displayed a “lazy mentality” in training sessions with the national team.
As Mourinho states, Hazard is still relatively young, but with the £32m star now approaching his 23rd birthday, increased levels of maturity have to be displayed if he is to reach his potential. 18 goals and 22 assists in just over a year at Stamford Bridge show his immense quality, but his timekeeping issues have him on the sidelines right now – which is massively important with the World Cup on the horizon.
image: © Ben Sutherland