THERE’S an old saying in sport that form is temporary while class is permanent.
I am sure Huddersfield Town fans can note plenty of players who have been absolute stars at other clubs – with goals and outstanding performances – and then, when they’ve turned up in blue and white stripes, they just haven’t done it.
It also works in reverse, where someone can have very little reputation but they turn up at your club and become world beaters.
The reason I mention this is because Fernando Torres is probably the ultimate example.
He was a player at the top of his game with Liverpool and I’m certain that when Chelsea forked out £50m they thought they were buying the best player in the world.
Unfortunately, the levels he has dropped off since his first few years at Liverpool to where he is now are quite incredible.
At Stamford Bridge they will have the best of coaches, physios, masseurs and nutritionists, they will have all the best back-up money can buy and maybe the only thing they won’t have tried with Torres is a psychologist. So the appointment of Rafa Benitez as Chelsea manager for the rest of this season is a fascinating one.
He has been out of the game for a couple of years and hasn’t really been linked with too many jobs over that time – even though Chelsea clearly spoke to him before appointing Roberto Di Matteo as boss.
So it seems one of the big reasons for Benitez being drafted in is to reinvigorate Torres, which may seem bizarre but you can see the thinking of owner Roman Abramovich.
Much of the Chelsea team probably runs itself, but if he’s now got a manager who can get Torres back to that level he set with Liverpool a few years ago then he could set them alight once again.
At the moment, Torres looks like he’s just going through the motions, not particularly keen to play and with his shoulders permanently drooping. He looks like he’s got his boot laces tied together half the time, but if he responds to Benitez then watch out Premier League.
My point, really, is that this is the first time I can ever remember where the appointment of a manager is probably more about getting one player to perform than the new manager’s ability to do anything else, especially as he doesn’t play a style the owner likes.
Overall, I will be expecting Pep Guardiola to be in charge next year – Benitez is only a short-term deal.
I AM engrossed in England’s cricket tour of India.
While I haven’t yet set my alarm early enough to get in a full day’s play, the coverage on Sky is amazing.
The application of all top sportsmen is something which marks them out from the rest, and that’s particularly so when you consider our batsmen trying to make big runs on the sub-continent.
It’s a mental challenge like no other, really, and I have to doff my cap to England captain Alastair Cook in that regard for his 176 in the first Test.
Take him out of the equation and it would have been very embarrassing for England.
Going forward, the opinion seems to be England will suffer more of the same.
The odds on India winning the series 4-0 have dropped from 12/1 to 4/1.