Fresh after signing a new long-term contract at Chelsea, Levi Colwill has revealed positive conversations with Mauricio Pochettino were influential to him committing his future to his boyhood club.
The Cobham graduate has been at the Blues since he was nine years old, and after two hugely promising loan spells in the past two seasons, has found himself part of the first-team squad for our pre-season tour of the United States.
Colwill reflected on how far he has come in such a short space of time, when we spoke to him shortly after he put pen-to-paper on the new deal.
‘I remember being in the old dome [at Cobham]. Coming in as a trialist, I was really nervous at the time. I went into training, really enjoying it, and then I had a six-week trial. On my ninth birthday, that’s when I got offered the contract, and I signed it there and then.
‘I never thought I could become what I have today, through all the hard work. There is no better feeling. So it has always been an easy decision. I have grown up, and all I have known is Chelsea,’ he beamed.
Levi was part of our pre-season tour of America this time last year but a loan offer from Brighton & Hove Albion came in, and it was challenge he took. It was another step up for the defender and an ideal learning curve: a chance to hone and develop his game in the harsh glare of the Premier League.
After European Championship triumph at Under-21 level with Noni Madueke and England, Levi returned just in time for our trip across the Atlantic and held talks with Pochettino, which were key during negotiations, says Colwill.
‘I have spoken to the gaffer, and he has given me assurances, and given me that trust that I needed. Just with simple things like talking to me, making me feel like not just a player, but also a person. It has made a big difference.
‘He pushes us hard, makes sure we do run, but also makes sure we do everything correctly and professional. That is the standards we need at Chelsea, as one of the biggest clubs in the world.’
The 20-year-old also outlined where and how he will benefit the team moving forward.
‘I want to bring to the team my willingness and dedication, I hate losing as a player. Every day, of course being a footballer is the best job in the world, but you also have to work hard. That is how you become the best and that is how you improve.
‘I am a very calm and composed player. Hopefully I can bring that into the team, play with composure. I want to help the team start attacks from the back, that’s how I like to think of myself,’ he said.
‘Of course, I am a defender but I also like to start attacks, break lines and help our team get forward as fast as possible at the right time.’