Emma Hayes has hinted Erin Cuthbert could be utilised in a deeper midfield role for Chelsea next season, after deploying the Scotland international in said position during a pre-season friendly against Lyon.
Cuthbert has predominantly featured as a box-to-box number eight or out wide during her time at Chelsea, but started in a deep-lying role during the Blues’ 2-2 draw with Lyon in the Women’s International Champions Cup on Wednesday.
The 24-year-old set up Chelsea’s opening goal with a fabulous lofted pass for Sam Kerr to latch on to in behind, before her side were ultimately beaten on penalties by the European champions.
“You saw what we’ve got planned for Erin,’ Emma Hayes told Chelsea’s official club website. “She’s sitting in the deep-lying position because in and out of possession she offers the team a lot. Jessie Fleming is being given the opportunities to play more minutes and she grew into the game as well.
“She (Fleming) cramped up and had to come out but I thought the midfield was fluid and in possession we created overloads in the way that we wanted to so generally I’m pleased with the way the midfield played.”
Chelsea have added five new signings during the summer transfer window ahead of their WSL title defence, and Hayes explained that the strength in depth will help them to challenge Lyon’s dominance on the European stage.
“We have more depth in every position so everybody has to produce quality day-in, day-out because if you want to replicate anything like the level of a team like Lyon then our daily training must be at an even higher level,” the Chelsea boss added. “We’ve done some good business this summer and I’m really excited for the campaign.”
Chelsea conclude their Women’s International Champions Cup campaign on Saturday evening with a third place playoff against Portland Thorns.