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Drogba 'still has Chelsea future'

Didier Drogba looks despondent  during the first FA Cup game against Southend
Drogba has been linked with a move to Inter Milan

Didier Drogba is still part of the plans at Stamford Bridge, according to Chelsea assistant manager Ray Wilkins.

The 30-year-old, who has scored just three goals this season, was dropped for Chelsea's 4-1 FA Cup third round win at Southend.

But Wilkins denied there was any problem between the Ivory Coast striker and manager Luiz Filipe Scolari.

"From what I have seen at training it certainly doesn't give to the fact they're at breaking point," he said.

Scolari recalled Premier League top scorer Nicolas Anelka, who has not started the past three games, against Southend and the Frenchman repaid the manager's faith with the third goal at Roots Hall.

Wilkins played down Drogba's omission from the squad, and insisted Scolari was just doing what he thought was best for the team.

"That's just a selection policy of Filipe, we have a very big squad, we've got some exceptional players and Filipe felt that Nicolas was the man to take the field," said Wilkins.

Drogba situation not at 'breaking point' - Wilkins

"I haven't got a clue whether he (Drogba) will play (against Stoke) at the weekend or not, but he is very much part of Chelsea football club and, if needed, he will pull the shirt on and play to a very high standard."

Question marks have been raised over whether Drogba and Anelka can play together up front, with Scolari generally choosing to start games with one of the strikers in a lone role up-front.

Anelka had not started any of the previous three games before the FA Cup tie as Scolari gave Drogba chance to re-establish himself but it seemed the Chelsea manager lost patience following the 3-0 defeat by Manchester United.

"All the players have had their chance. I have given every player at least five or six games to impress," said Scolari.

"I will give them their chance and I need answers."

Drogba, who has been linked with a move to Inter Milan, has looked a shadow of the player of previous seasons.

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He has scored 83 goals in all competitions for Chelsea since joining the Blues in 2004 but has found the net only three times in 17 games since Scolari's arrival, in a largely frustrating campaign.

The striker missed the start of the season with a knee injury and was then banned for three games after throwing a coin into a section of Burnley fans during Chelsea's shock Carling Cup exit.

"I have looked at many games with Anelka and at the last few with Didier," said Scolari.

"I have my opinion and I will put my opinion on the pitch every game.

"If I have given players only one chance then maybe some of the players will complain that they have only had one opportunity.

"But when I have given four or five chances then there is no room for questions, it is my decision to play this or that player, and finish."

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see also
Southend 1-4 Chelsea
14 Jan 09 |  FA Cup
Scolari calls for Chelsea unity
13 Jan 09 |  Chelsea
Chelsea 'must give Scolari time'
13 Jan 09 |  Chelsea
Alan Hansen's column
12 Jan 09 |  Football
Title hopes damaged, says Scolari
12 Jan 09 |  Premier League
Lee Dixon's tactical view
12 Jan 09 |  Premier League
Man Utd 3-0 Chelsea
11 Jan 09 |  Premier League
Drogba banned for three matches
18 Nov 08 |  Chelsea
Drogba will miss start of season
04 Aug 08 |  Chelsea


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