Chelsea hothead Nicolas Jackson has as many bookings as goals – but incredible gesture reveals his softer side

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NICOLAS JACKSON has as many bookings as Premier League goals and on the surface looks like a bust-up waiting to happen.

But SunSport can reveal there is a secret softer side to the 22-year-old Chelsea striker, one in stark contrast to his public image.

Nicolas Jackson is starting to find his feet at Chelsea

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Nicolas Jackson is starting to find his feet at ChelseaCredit: Getty

Senegalese Jackson did not own a pair of football boots until he was 16, while growing up in the poor town of Ziguinchor.

It is something he has never forgotten and it was the inspiration behind a personal aid mission to help the kids of his old home town.

While at former clubs Villarreal and Mirandes in Spain, kind-hearted Jackson scrounged spare kit from his team-mates throughout the season.

Old boots, shirts, socks, shinpads. You name it, he took it all home and packed it away.

At the end of the season, Jackson piled the lot into a dozen large boxes and took it all back to Ziguinchor — to give away to local children.

Chelsea’s enigmatic forward paid the excess baggage fees out of his own pocket, which cost more than four times the price of his flight ticket.

Despite playing in LaLiga, Jackson was not earning relatively big money at Villarreal. Even less at second-tier side Mirandes.

But it did not stop him from digging deep to help the kids back home.

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The £30million star has endured a turbulent debut season in the Premier League.

But following a troublesome start during which he picked up five bookings and a ban before the end of September, he is now settling down.

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He has nine top-flight goals already — one short of the total Didier Drogba managed in his debut season at Stamford Bridge before going on to become a Chelsea legend.

And boss Mauricio Pochettino said: “You all are now seeing how he is improving. The most difficult thing was to support him when it was tough.

“He has the quality and the capacity. Now he is doing much better but still needs to improve a lot. The numbers are similar to Drogba in his first season.

“That maybe gives the fans more belief in him and to be a little more patient with him but as always it depends on the circumstances.

“He was the only striker and we demanded too much in every single game and in every single action, ‘Score, score, score!’ It is not easy.

“Now, I hope people can start to understand he has the condition to be very good.”

You all are now seeing how he is improving. The most difficult thing was to support him when it was tough.

Mauricio Pochettino

Jackson admits adapting to English has been a challenge and it may be a clue to the hair-trigger temper he is working on.

But being willing to fight for your team is not always a bad thing.

He is also adopting subtle changes to his routine to make marginal gains.

At least eight hours’ sleep every night, tweaks to his diet with the help of Chelsea’s expert nutritionists, eating precise portions of vegetables, carbs and proteins to get the best from his body.

Poch added: “A player arrived here who needed support, needed help, needed to perform but with time, needed to adapt to the club.”

Chelsea welcome back Ben Chilwell, 27, to the squad for tomorrow’s FA Cup quarter-final against his old club Leicester.

The defender missed Monday’s 3-2 win over Newcastle with injury.

Jackson with Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino

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Jackson with Chelsea manager Mauricio PochettinoCredit: Rex



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Chelsea hothead Nicolas Jackson has as many bookings as goals – but incredible gesture reveals his softer side

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