Ben Chilwell is the only first-team player from last season yet to play any minutes this season — even Kepa’s gotten a couple, plus a penalty shootout! — and that’s become noticeable enough to award him the title of “forgotten man” across various media headlines in recent days.
Though perhaps “overlooked man” would be more apt as the 24-year-old has yet to kick a ball in anger since the Champions League final on May 29, and that despite going to Euro 2020/1 with England.
Getting shunned by Gareth Southgate has taken a toll on Chilwell on a personal level, according to the Telegraph, but he’s now up for playing, according to the head coach himself.
“I know that it was a tough one because you feel he did everything to push the [England] team. You feel as part of the team but you don’t feel it really if you don’t sweat it out on the pitch and you never wear the shirt and you are never really involved, it is a strange feeling.
“It was necessary to keep training for four or five weeks continuously. Then he had a personal break and it was hard for him to totally relax and to get his personal disappointment off the shoulders. When he arrived here I felt him mentally tired. Still worrying about the situation and at the same time he had to accept. [But] he is in the race now.
“The situation has changed for him. He is in good shape, in mental shape, attitude and good shape on the pitch so he can play any minute.”
Tuchel stopped short of revealing any definite decisions, but with Marcos Alonso have played practically ever minute of the season thus far, surely it’s Chilwell’s turn tonight.
“We had some talks with Chilly about the situation. He knows that I would have done the same thing the other way round — to trust him if he was here and showed this kind of personality and attitude like Marcos did. They push each other and there are no further worries for Chilly.
“He must be a bit patient and keep on training. It took some time. We had to give him a little bit of time to be a bit more patient with himself. To find the joy again and find things a little bit more easy on the pitch and not want to force it too hard.
-Thomas Tuchel; source: Football.London
Let’s hope Chilwell indeed makes his return soon, before the situation gets any more dramatic.