It’s been a strange few months for Ben Chilwell, from not getting any minutes with England at the Euros, to hardly getting any minutes at Chelsea during the first couple months of the new season. It’s certainly not what anyone might have expected after his key role last season, including in the Champions League final. Just goes to show that you never really know what might happen in football!
That might be immensely frustrating for the 24-year-old, but if it is, he’s not letting on. In fact, he’s saying all the right things instead about staying patient, working hard, and taking maximum advantage of the opportunities granted.
“I wouldn’t say it’s been frustrating. It’s about being patient, training hard. Marcos has been playing well and I have had to respect that. I’ve been training hard to make sure when I get my chance, I’m ready.
“I felt fine on Saturday fitness wise. I’ve been training hard and making sure my fitness is 100 per cent, so when I did have the opportunity to play I was fine to play 90, and make sure I could make the same runs in the 90th minute as I did in the first minute.”
Marcos Alonso has been in fine form indeed, even earning a recall to the Spanish national team after a multi-year absence, but Chilwell (who also got a late call-up, by England) reminded everyone that he’s no slouch either, scoring a spectacular volley to seal the deal against Southampton. Alonso himself could not have hit it sweeter.
“I felt I had a good game but then gave the penalty away. I just tried to bounce back from that, and got the goal in the end[...] It is definitely up there with my best goals. It was kind of instinctive, it just came to the back post. The keeper was either on the floor or near the other post, so I thought if I hit the target I had a good chance.
“The manager was happy I was getting in the positions to score. I had a couple of chances in the first half, second one could have done better, first one was a good save. If you look at my stats last year, four goals, seven assists, I did pretty well in that aspect, but you can always improve. I am never satisfied with what I’ve done, and hopefully my numbers will be better than last season and I can keep improving in an attacking sense.’
Individual numbers aside, the primary target is always the collective success, and in that regard, Chilwell’s just like all the rest: confident of being able to achieve something wonderful (again) this season.
“We have still had a good start to the season [and] we want to keep winning trophies. We are a squad that is hungry to do well. If you look at the other teams that are competing to win the league, there is a lot of fierce competition. We know we have to work hard every day and bring our A-game. Consistency throughout the whole season is what we need if we want to win stuff.
“We are confident with the strength in depth of our squad we have got more than enough to do what we need to do and win more silverware.”
-Ben Chilwell; source: Chelsea FC