Ray Wilkins believes Didier Drogba can stay at Chelsea for a number of years

Ray Wilkins has been impressed with Didier Drogba since his return to Chelsea.

Drogba left Stamford Bridge in 2012, having won the Champions League and been named the clubs greatest ever player.

Spells in China with Shanghai Shenhua and Turkey with Galatasaray preceded an incredible return to West London - a return that many thought was for nothing but sentimental value. The 36-year-old struggled in his early appearances as he worked his way to match fitness, but, when forced to lead the line in the absences of Diego Costa and Loic Remy, the veteran excelled.

He scored in three consecutive games - against Maribor, Manchester United and Shrewsbury - before losing his place to Costa, and then registered a goal and an assist in the 5-0 thrashing of Schalke last week. Forced to lead the line again with Costa suspended, Drogba put in a top class performance at home to Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday evening, assisting the opening goal and scoring the second to take the game beyond Spurs’s reach.

He appeared to be playing at the level shown during his peak years at the club, and he was the perfect counter-attacking outlet for the Blues. He held the ball up with incredible ability, and his energy was expended from a constant pressing of the Spurs back-line. Due to his age, he could not keep up his performance for the full game, and head coach Jose Mourinho was wise to substitute the ageing star after 67 minutes, bringing on Loic Remy - who promptly scored the third of the night.

At the age of 36, he is far excelling the expectations set of him prior to the start of the season, and Blues legend Ray Wilkins - who coached Drogba during his spell at the club - believes he could extend his stay past the end of the season.

The 58-year-old coach told talkSPORT: “When Mourinho brought him back I thought ‘wow, this is a big one’, but the guy is playing out of his skin. He looks everything he was a couple of years ago.

“It wouldn’t surprise me [if he played on past this season] because he still looks as a fit as a flea. His body is still in the same condition that it was a couple of years ago.

“The thing with Didier is, he has never been one of those that runs around and around as a centre forward. He has always been very effective at what he does and when that ball is hit up to him, it stays up with him.

“It sticks to him like glue and when he has an opportunity to score, he still has that magnificent technique, something you never lose, and it is in the back of the net.”

Due to his age, should Drogba sign an extension to his contract, it would likely be with an even more reduced role than he has been occupying this season. Many are keen to see him stay at the club following his retirement, and next year could be the perfect time to start moulding him into a potential successor to Jose Mourinho.

FIFA World Cup 2018FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia - click here for all of our coverage...

Register for CHELSEA team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch