Reece James has backed Chelsea teammate Nicolas Jackson after a difficult start to his career in the Premier League.
Summer arrival Jackson bagged his first hat-trick in Blues colours with three second-half goals at Tottenham on Monday night, all arriving when Spurs were down to nine players.
While those strikes sealed a 4-1 win during a chaotic London derby, the Senegal international had previously been criticised on Match of the Day by former England and Newcastle striker Alan Shearer. He was also jeered by home fans during a 2-0 defeat to Brentford at Stamford Bridge.
James told The Sun: “I don’t think he’s needed a pick-me-up once. He is one of the most energetic guys.
“He knows his ability and why he is at Chelsea. As a striker, you go through spells when you don’t score or miss chances.
“He just has to keep working hard. That is what he’s done and he got his reward.
“I’m happy for him. It’s a huge confidence boost for anyone to get a hat-trick, especially against such a good side.”
Shearer’s comments, which included highlighting Jackson’s “complete lack of movement” and labelling him not a “natural goalscorer”, prompted a defence from Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino. The Argentinian branded the analysis “dangerous” because of its one-game scope and highlighted the need to support Jackson.
The 22-year-old took his goal tally up to six in all competitions with his treble at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, with five of those coming in the Premier League. He did, however, serve a one-game suspension after picking up five yellow cards in his first six games.
Cole Palmer netted the Blues’ opener from the penalty spot and has three goals in the league so far this season, being tied as their second top goalscorer with Raheem Sterling.