Gary Neville: Why I have no sympathy for Chelsea forward Eden Hazard
Manchester United legend Gary Neville says Chelsea forward Eden Hazard should be targeting 30 goals this season
Gary Neville says he has no sympathy for Chelsea outcast Eden Hazard.
The Belgium international was omitted from Jose Mourinho’s starting line-up for Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge.
I’ve got no sympathy for [Hazard] in the sense that the question mark hanging over him is in respect of ‘can he go to that next, next level?’
The Chelsea manager cited Hazard’s lack of work ethic as a key factor behind his decision to drop the reigning PFA player of the year.
But former Manchester United defender Neville believes Hazard hasn’t kicked on from last season after many had tipped the 24-year-old to join Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi as an elite player.
“I’ve got no sympathy for Hazard. I expect more of him,” Neville told Sky Sport.
“The level he got to last season, you started to see a great player. In the Premier League, how many real top, world-class players could you say we have in the league?
“[Sergio] Aguero, [David] Silva you’d look at, you’d look at Hazard and put him into that level of category. There might be a couple more, I’m not saying we haven’t got more, but they’re the three I can think of off the top of my head.
“Hazard, there was talk last season of him getting into that Messi, Ronaldo bracket. Of course they have off periods but even in the off periods they still contribute, they score goals.
“You saw Ronaldo breaking the record at the weekend and what Messi’s done. But I’ve got no sympathy for [Hazard] in the sense that the question mark hanging over him is in respect of ‘can he go to that next, next level?'”
Neville added that the Chelsea forward should be looking to target 30 goals this season after scoring 16 times in 34 Premier League games in the west London side’s title-winning campaign last term.
“He’s got to pull himself out of it,” Neville added.
“I’ve got no sympathy for the very top players with the best talent, the best skill, they really have got everything at their feet and I’d expect them not just to go and be player of the year this year, I’d expect them to take it forward and get confidence from that and go and score 30 goals next season, be the best player in the league again and dominate and dominate.
“He hasn’t done that at the start of this season and he needs to pull himself out of it. Every player goes through a tough patch but he’s got to do it quickly because that’s what the best players do, they come out of these patches very quickly.”
Hazard has won the Premier League, the Europa League and the League Cup since his move to the Blues from Lille in 2012.
The Chelsea forward signed a new five-year contract with the defending English champions last April.