As for everyone else, life as a Chelsea footballer has not been the same in 2020. From the initial lockdown, through project restart, and then on to the current, busy, behind-closed-doors programme of fixtures, there are things to be missed, new experiences to be had and even some fresh talents emerging. Next in the squad to ask our questions on those is our star winger from the States...
What do you miss most about ‘normal’ football during this behind-closed-doors period? Just the fans, just the atmosphere in the stadium and being able to be with the fans. Like when you are celebrating a goal, it is not the same when you don’t have your own fans to run to.
What song are you most looking forward to hearing the fans sing again?Just anything really, I would just like to hear some sound in the stadium.
Has anyone told you they have heard you swearing on the TV coverage?You don’t really think about that but they probably can!
Is it weird being able to hear the manager and coaches more than normal? It is different, you can hear your team-mates and the coaches more but it is easier to get information across I guess. It maybe does help a little bit.
Strangest dressing room set-up at the moment?We have been put in some quite random places but it is kind of just making do with the situation we have, and just getting used to it all. I did miss quite a few away games because I was injured so I don’t know about those, but some of the walks are very far from the changing rooms to the pitch.
Does it feel easier to play games away from home than usual?Maybe a little bit. Obviously the opponents don’t have their own fans so that does help.
Do you listen with the fake crowd noise when you watch games on TV.I think I do normally. I have whatever is just on but normally it is with the crowd noises.
What is different at Cobham compared with usual?We are just a bit more spaced out, we have multiple changing rooms and do all the protocols and keep our distance, but it is not too bad.
What did you miss most from the canteen there when you could not use that?It is a big one after training, not being able to go and sit with the team and have lunch. It was a big miss but it was good when it came back.
When you were out running during lockdown, did you get recognised? Occasionally but I tried to go somewhere very private, so not a lot of people see me.
How tough was it to keep fit without usual training?It was definitely tough. We had our workouts to do when we were home so it wasn’t all that bad but it was just another bump in the road. We had got to get over it and now we are back.Lots of hidden talents emerged during lockdown so did you learn anything new? Any surprising hobbies help get you through lockdown?I think a lot of us were just very bored during the lockdown, trying to find different things to do and different hobbies so one of mine was dancing, because I am obviously very good at dancing!
I went golfing a couple of times, I tried to find things to do.
Who had the worst ‘lockdown look’ when you returned to Cobham? I remember Jorginho had a very big beard, and I think he needed a haircut.