Chelsea's Daniel Sturridge has paid tribute to the players he calls 'the heart of the team', claiming that the likes of John Terry, Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard are being disrespected.
Sturridge, 22, has starred so far this season alongside the likes of Juan Mata and Ramires, but the forward insists that it is not always the youngsters who deserve praise.
"The disrespect I've seen towards the likes of JT and others is ridiculous. When times get hard, these are the sort of players who step up to the plate," Sturridge told the Daily Star Sunday. "It's not just the younger players people should be looking at, thinking they're the exciting ones.
"Ashley Cole, JT, Lamps, Didier - these are the players which keep the team going. They are the heart of the team. They have been here a lot longer than I have, or any of the younger guys coming through have. They're the ones who are paving the way for us. I can only look up to them right now.''
Chelsea have come under pressure as they are already nine points off the pace in the Premier League after recent defeats at the hands of QPR and Arsenal and Sturridge insists that older heads are needed to get the club back on track.
"The younger players wouldn't be able to perform when faced with adversity - because we're not used to it,'' he added. ''It's a big change for us.
"But the older players have been through it. To have those players around the club makes your job so much easier."