Premier League • England

Resurgent Chelsea star reflects on slow start to season after ‘frustrating’ time

Samuel Bannister
Malang Sarr and Ben Chilwell celebrate Chelsea win

Ben Chilwell has admitted he was frustrated at his lack of gametime for Chelsea earlier in the season, but has now come to terms with the reasons why.

Chilwell lost his place as Chelsea’s starting left-back to Marcos Alonso in the first few weeks in the new campaign. October was a breakout month for the Englishman, though, as he reclaimed the regular berth.

Chilwell scored three goals for Chelsea across five starts for them last month. He also netted his first England goal in the midst of his return to form.

Now, the 24-year-old seems to be back on track. He will be hoping November can be as kind to him. The month begins with a trip to face Malmo in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Speaking ahead of the game, Chilwell addressed his step back from the limelight earlier in the year. He also added how he has worked to put things right.

“It is obviously frustrating because as a footballer you want to be playing week in week out,” he said at a press conference. “It’s what you enjoy, stepping out on the pitch and playing football. But you have to train well every day and support the team, which is the main thing.

“When you have a squad like we do here, with 25 world class players and two or three people fighting in every position, you have to understand you are not going to play in every match. Just support the group and train hard so when you get your chance, you are ready.”

Chilwell then denied that his period out of the starting lineup had led him to have any doubts.

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“No doubts at all,” he affirmed. “When you train hard every day, and of course as a football player you have to have confidence in your own ability. I was just keen that I would train hard every day so that when I did get my opportunity I would give the manager a headache.

“When I got the chance to play to play my best and give my best for the team, and hopefully then get more opportunities and give him as much of a headache as possible.”

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Chilwell responds to Tuchel’s tiredness claims

Chilwell’s slow start to the season followed a summer in which he was an unused member of the England squad that reached the final of Euro 2020.

He insisted he felt ready to contribute upon his return to his club. However, accepted Alonso was in better form.

“It’s a difficult one,” he replied to a question about Thomas Tuchel previously referring to him as being mentally tired.

“Coming off the back of a summer when you have been disappointed, where you wanted to play. It’s the Euros in your home country. So of course everyone is going to be disappointed when they don’t play in that. Coming back to Chelsea I felt I was in a good place to help the team.

“Of course Marcos started the season very well and was here for the whole of pre season. When you have two or three brilliant players in each position, fighting for 11 shirts, you have to be realistic. I knew I had to be patient and bide my team and support the group.

“That’s a sign here of the fact we have such a strong group and doing well at the moment is because there are no egos in this squad. There is a group of players who want to work hard and when whoever gets the chance to play gets their opportunity they are ready.”

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