Ben Chilwell has impressed for Premier League leaders Chelsea this season
Ben Chilwell says a ‘very honest conversation’ with Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel helped him move on from the ‘difficult’ summer he experienced at international level with England.
The 24-year-old nailed down his place as Chelsea’s first-choice left-back in his debut season at Stamford Bridge last term, making 42 appearances in all competitions and starring in the club’s Champions League final victory over Manchester City.
However, Chilwell failed to play a single minute at Euro 2020, with Manchester United’s Luke Shaw impressing across England’s campaign and scoring a stunning opener in the Three Lions’ defeat to Italy.
Chilwell was forced to self-isolate for ten days after coming into contact with Billy Gilmour – who tested positive for Covid-19 in the wake of England’s goalless draw with Scotland – and his tournament never got going thereafter.
‘It was difficult,’ the ex-Leicester defender said ahead of England’s World Cup qualifier against Albania.
‘I’ve been asked quite a lot recently since I’ve started playing and the way I’ve answered is a cliche but: It’s football.
‘These are things that are going to happen to the majority of players in their professional career, where they have low moments, high moments.
‘The way I try to look at it, I was disappointed that I wasn’t playing in such a massive competition in England. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed.
‘But the way I was trying to go into the whole thing was that it happens to a lot of people in football. I just need to make sure I’m ready, I’ll come through this stronger and better on the other side.’
Chilwell has shone both defensively and offensively for Premier League leaders Chelsea this season and the full-back credits Tuchel for helping him getting over his frustrating summer.
‘I was so eager to get back playing football, it was maybe coming across that I wanted it a bit too much,’ he added.
‘Me and (Tuchel) had a very honest conversation where he did say to me: “You know, I feel like mentally at the moment in training you’re pushing a bit too much to get in the team. We love you here, we know the qualities you possess just relax a little bit, you’re going to get back in”.
‘It was brilliant to hear and then it was just about being patient and making sure I was ready so that when I was called upon to play, I could do my best.
‘When you’ve got a manager that talks to you on a personal level, which we’re fortunate enough we have here and at Chelsea, it helps.
‘When you’ve got a manager that talks to you and tells you the honest truth about what you need to do to get back on the team, of course it’s going to help you and give you a bit of clarity.’