Ben Chilwell came off the bench yesterday to win the game for us against West Ham United, scoring an absolutely ridiculous goal just a few minutes after his introduction, then setting up Kai Havertz’s winner two minutes from time. They were his first goal and first official assist in nearly ten months.
Those direct contributions and Chilwell’s level of play in general has led to some suggestions and calls for him playing a bigger role, but Thomas Tuchel is urging patience at the moment when it comes to the 25-year-old left wing-back coming off of a major ACL surgery.
“[Chilwell] has the full fitness he can have from training and pre-season matches. Of course, he can feel fitter and be fitter if he is playing in consecutive Premier League matches. In my opinion, he lacks rhythm and a bit of feeling from the game. This is what I see in training. The player always thinks he is ready, and I think there are some things still missing.
“He started for us against Everton, came on against Southampton today, and had a huge impact. This is what we want from him. In my view, the wing-back position is his best position: he gives energy, runs, and deliveries. So I am very happy because these things need to happen more than any talk or session with me. He must feel it and experience being decisive back on the pitch.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: Football.London
There’s certainly a difference between being fit and being match fit, though ironically, it takes matches to become match fit ... to play some matches.
Either way it’s great to have another option on the left now with both Chilwell and Cucurella able to contribute. We’re into the the thick of things as far as the schedule’s concerned, and will likely need both of them to play at a high level.