Arsenal legend 'Ian Wright' explains why Hakim Ziyech is flourishing at the World Cup despite struggling at Chelsea

Former Arsenal and England striker Ian Wright has explained why Hakim Ziyech is flourishing at the World Cup despite his struggles at Chelsea.

Ziyech has largely underwhelmed at Stamford Bridge and is being strongly linked with a move away from west London ahead of the January transfer window.

The 29-year-old, who impressed at Ajax before moving to England in 2020, has only started one Premier League game this season.

Despite his struggles at Stamford Bridge, Ziyech has helped Morocco enjoy an incredible and history-making run to the World Cup semi-finals in Qatar.

Morocco, who changed manager just before the tournament, finished top of a group that also contained 2018 runners-up Croatia and Belgium, the No. 2 ranked side in the world.

Walid Regragui’s side then beat Spain on penalties before knocking out Portugal to become the first African nation to reach the World Cup semi-finals.

Morocco will hope to go one step further on Wednesday night when they face World Cup holders France for a place in the 2022 final.

Wright has hailed Morocco for their unprecedented World Cup campaign and says he has ‘loved’ watching Ziyech flourish, claiming he plays with a ‘different energy’ for his country than he does for Chelsea.

‘I’m loving Hakim Ziyech at this World Cup, I’m loving him,’ he said on the Wrighty’s House podcast. ‘I love the way he’s playing.

‘He plays with a different energy when he plays for his country. I watch him at Chelsea and I’m not being negative, but the difference is this man needs it when he’s playing for Morocco.

‘Remember he had all those problems with the [previous] coach, he wasn’t playing, then the coach is gone, they got their guy in and look at where they are now.’

Former Manchester United captain Roy Keane has also been impressed by Ziyech’s World Cup displays and says he ‘looks like a different player’ in Qatar.

‘Morocco have been tenacious, strong, and aggressive this tournament, sitting deep but doing well when they have the ball. They have been brilliant, and I didn’t see it coming,’ Keane told Sky Bet.

‘Hakim Ziyech seems like a different player – it’s a different environment, sometimes players struggle at club level, but the World Cup and international football can suit other personalities better.

‘Ziyech looks like a big personality for Morocco, and you don’t see that at club level for Chelsea.’

While Morocco are set for a semi-final showdown with defending champions France, the other last-four clash sees Argentina take on Croatia.

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