Southgate hails England star’s brilliant turnaround after ‘tough summer’

England manager Gareth Southgate, October 2021

England manager Gareth Southgate hailed Ben Chilwell following the full-back’s first goal for his country in the rout of Andorra.

Despite England’s run to the Euro 2020 final, the Chelsea full-back did not get a look in. Indeed, he did not play a single minute of the tournament amid Luke Shaw and Kieran Trippier’s strong form.

He has also struggled of late for his club. Chilwell has played a bit-part role since Thomas Tuchel took charge and has only made one Premier League outing so far this season.

Nevertheless, the latest England camp provided a breath of fresh air for the 24-year-old and he took the opportunity.

The former Leicester star netted the opening goal as England went on to thrash Andorra 5-0.

Speaking to ITV Sport after the match, Southgate hailed the “nice moment” for Chilwell after he had “such a tough summer” with the Three Lions.

Jack Grealish also scored his first England goal on a counter-attack. West Brom goalkeeper Sam Johnstone got the assist with a long throw before Grealish’s weaving run and finish.

“Very bright piece of play, I thought he [Johnstone] made a great save from the chance that was offside as well,” Southgate said.

Ben Chilwell needs out at Chelsea

Chilwell has fallen out of favour in the Chelsea side and he might find it difficult to regain his place.

“So there were some nice moments, Chilly to get a goal after having such a tough time in the summer with us.

“Really pleased for him and of course Jack’s first goal as well, so… Tammy [Abraham], Prowsey [James Ward-Prowse], Bukayo [Saka], they’re all players that haven’t scored that often for England so it’s a special moment for all of them.”

England dominated the ball throughout and it took only 17 minutes for them to take the lead.

Saka made it 2-0 before half time, after which Abraham, Ward-Prowse and Grealish netted.

Southgate hails England determination

Ben Chilwell, Conor Coady, James Ward-Prowse, Jesse Lingard Andorra v England, October 2021

Asked for his favourite aspect of the evening, Southgate said: “The way that the team went about the game. It was a very specific challenge, a low, packed defence to break down.

“We picked a team with players in it that could take that challenge on. You saw that with the link play from midfield especially and I thought the application throughout was excellent.

“We know those types of defences, those diagonal runs from wide – Ben made it throughout the game – and of course with Phil you know he can hit them, as can Prowsey.

“It was very much [about] could we get between the lines, could we get wide in one against one situations, but those diagonal runs in behind were a real threat.”

England wrap up the latest international break with a match against Hungary on Tuesday.

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