Centre stage: Anelka (No 39) has been tipped to lead the France forward line
There is a debate raging in France as to the whether Anelka has the qualities to start at the tip of a forward three at the coming World Cup, but his Chelsea boss is in no doubt.
'Nicolas is complete and versatile,' Ancelotti told French newspaper L'Equipe. 'With me this season he has played several positions: as centre forward, a No 9 and deeper, and also on the wings - left and right.'
The former Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City striker has often been denied a central role to fit around Didier Drogba as the pinnacle of a three-pronged attack at Chelsea, but Ancelotti admits Anelka is best through the middle.
'Even if Nicolas is very good everywhere,I think his best position is centre forward,' said the Italian, who wasquick to compare him to Van Basten 'for his elegance'.
'He's excellent when used deep. His speed hurts. He is very useful with his back to goal, and in front of goal he has composure and is effective.'
Dutch master: Van Basten gets the better of England's Tony Adams (left) and Gary Stevens (right) at the 1988 European Championship
There are those in France who say Anelka is too quick to drop deep and neglect his duties as a lone striker, but Ancelotti said: 'Nicolas likes to touch the ball and be at the heart of the action. He can be more effective than a centre forward who doesn't move.'
Anelka scored 11 Barclays Premier League goals last season in 33 appearances, compared to Drogba's incredible 29 in 32 games.
Chelsea star Ashley Cole may not be off to Real Madrid after all as Spanish giants talk with Lazio about signing Alexander KolarovBallack told to retire from international football and concentrate on Chelsea Put Lampard on the spot for England, says penalty king Le TissierTHE INSIDER: Fernando Torres staying at Liverpool, Manchester United still tracking Michel Bastos as Fulham close in on Frederic PiquionneCHELSEA FC