Chelsea midfielder Hakim Ziyech has been blasted by his national team coach, Vahid Halilhodzic, ahead of their World Cup qualifier against Sudan tonight.
Ziyech was a surprise absentee as Morocco named their 24-man squad prior to the international break.
The 28-year-old’s omission sparked rumours of a fall out with Halilhodzic which have now all but been confirmed by the coach himself.
According to L’Equipe journalist Hanif Ben Berkane on Twitter, Halilhodzic said: “He hasn’t been disciplined in the last two rallies and has refrained from training.
“He didn’t look like a player from a national team fighting to qualify for the World Cup.”
Morocco’s manager continued by claiming that Ziyech has never had the right attitude when on international duty, and that he has even feigned injury in training before.
“For the first time in my coaching career, I saw a national team player who doesn’t want to train and claims to be injured, although tests have shown he can play.
“I won’t tolerate it. Not this behaviour as long as I coach Morocco.”
However, leaving Ziyech out may be a good think for Chelsea.
The international break is a notorious time for injuries, and given Ziyech’s record in that department of late, keeping him at the club’s Cobham training ground to work on his fitness may help Thomas Tuchel’s side in the long run.
Ziyech looked on his way to a lightning start to 2021/22 following impressive pre-season outings and a coolly taken goal against Villarreal to give Chelsea the lead in the UEFA Super Cup.
But an innocuous challenge and fall took Ziyech out of the game, and he subsequently missed the Blues’ opening 3-0 win over Crystal Palace because of a shoulder injury.
He came off the bench in the 2-0 win over Arsenal in August, but didn’t feature the following weekend against Liverpool.
Ziyech will, however, be hoping to be fit and firing again come September 11 when Chelsea host Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge as the Premier League resumes after the international break.
Source by Football London