Tottenham fan favourite Rafael van der Vaart has jumped to the defence of Chelsea’s Hakim Ziyech, saying he would always pick him if he were Thomas Tuchel.

Ziyech has had a difficult first year in England since moving to Chelsea in the summer, struggling to establish himself under Frank Lampard and now Tuchel.

The player who was the star of the show at Ajax has been sorely absent during his time in London so far, with just three assists and one goal in 17 league games so far.

Part of the problem has been the quality on offer in Chelsea’s squad, with the form of Mason Mount, in particular, forcing Ziyech out of the starting 11.

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Ziyech’s lack of appearances and form has already seen him receive plenty of criticism, particularly in the Netherlands, where he was the star of the show for Ajax.

Van der Vaart, who moved to Tottenham in 2010 from Real Madrid, remains a fan, although he is less enthusiastic about some of Ziyech’s Chelsea teammates.

“I would always play Ziyech because he is the best,” he told Ziggo Sport, relayed by Soccer News. 

“Ziyech comes inside and also gives the cross, just like Mount. Giroud needs that.

“He’s (Werner) super-fast, and that might be nice in an away game when you’re under pressure, but it’s just putting your head down and running around.

“Mount is a great footballer, who I do think needs to make a step up. I compare him a bit to Calvin Stengs: you have to become a bloke.

“Werner is really a blind horse. He has already proven that in Germany.”