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Ben Chilwell

BIOGRAPHY

Ben Chilwell become a Blue on August 26 2020 when the left-back signed a five-year contract. The England international joined us from Leicester City, the club where he began his professional career.

An England international who likes to attack from left-back, contributing with assists and the occasional goal, Chilwell is equally adept at the defensive side of the game. He is a modern full-back in every sense of the phrase, combining athleticism and energy up and down the flank with excellent technique and the ability to recover with pace in defensive transition.

As the role of the full-back has evolved in recent years, Chilwell has emerged as a player who can contribute in every area of the field. His left-footedness provides balance to the team and his eagerness to attack is facilitated by being assured in possession and reliable with deliveries into the box or penetrative passes forward.

2020/21

After a delayed start due to injury, Chilwell’s first season with Chelsea began with a bang on a brilliant debut as he quickly adapted to life at Stamford Bridge to become one of our best performers during the first part of the campaign.

He needed a second period of adaptation after our change of manager and system, but showed almost weekly improvement as he got to grips with the wing-back role and his importance to both Frank Lampard and Thomas Tuchel is demonstrated by the fact that only two outfield players started more Premier League games for Chelsea than Chilwell in 2020/21.

After missing our first three games with a foot injury, Chilwell was eased into the action in Carabao Cup games against Barnsley and Tottenham. It turned out that problem was an ongoing one, which needed managing in the months ahead, but you wouldn’t have known from the left-back’s performances.

He’d been on the pitch less than 20 minutes in the first of those games when he claimed an assist with a cross from deep to Olivier Giroud. Even better was to follow on his Premier League debut against Crystal Palace, as he opened the scoring himself before setting up Kurt Zouma for the second in a 4-0 win. Four games into his Blues career, Chilwell’s one goal and three assists gave him more goal involvements than any other Premier League defender.

It wasn’t just on the ball he was impressing, either, showing his defensive prowess by helping Chelsea to keep seven clean sheets in his first nine games, further demonstrating how quickly he had settled in west London when he was nominated for Premier League Player of the Month in November.

Chilwell’s link-up play with Mason Mount was a crucial part of many of our best team performances during the first half of the season, with an excellent example coming against Aston Villa at Christmas, when an intricate passing move began with Chilwell taking the ball from Edouard Mendy on the edge of his own box, and ended up with him setting up Giroud to score in the other area.

Chilwell initially looked like one of those who could lose out from the introduction of Tuchel as head coach in January 2021, with Marcos Alonso returning to the team and the German preferring a back three with wing-backs, a system Chilwell had little experience of.

However, Tuchel was full of praise for the left-back’s attitude when out of the team and his desire to improve in his potential new role. More importantly, when Chilwell was given his chance he took it, with impressive performances in back-to-back league games against Manchester United and Liverpool.

He also played his part in a tense finish to the season, setting up the winner at West Ham United that put us back in the top four with four games remaining, as well as playing every minute of the Champions League semi-finals and final, plus the FA Cup semi-final. The only disappointment was to have the icing on the cake snatched away from him, when his late equalising goal against his former club Leicester City in the FA Cup final was ruled out by VAR.

Pre-Chelsea

Chilwell was born in Milton Keynes in December 1996 and initially played for Rushden & Diamonds until the age of 12 before signing for Leicester’s youth programme. He progressed steadily through the age groups, albeit not always comfortably, and has admitted he feared being released at the age of 15 following a difficult season.

However, the defender persevered and was soon catching the eye with performances in the youth team and Under-21s. He played against Chelsea at those age groups on numerous occasions, going up against the likes of Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Fikayo Tomori and Tammy Abraham in clashes between the two sides. His first team debut for the Foxes came in a League Cup tie at Hull City, with Claudio Ranieri playing him from the start, and then two further FA Cup appearances that season followed. Sandwiched in between was a short loan spell at Huddersfield Town, where he made eight appearances in the Championship.

That 2015/16 campaign ended in unbelievable fashion at the King Power Stadium as Leicester did the unthinkable and were crowned Premier League champions, though it wasn’t until the following season that Chilwell made his league debut against Everton on Boxing Day, five days after his 20th birthday. He featured in the Champions League for the first time in 2016/17 as Leicester topped their group before going out in the quarter-finals to Atletico Madrid. His first senior goal came against Tottenham in the penultimate game of the campaign.

The defender’s breakthrough season came the following year as he made 32 appearances, although he was sent off on a visit to Stamford Bridge in January 2018 in a 0-0 draw after picking up two quick bookings. Nevertheless, Chilwell’s standing grew further as he established himself as Leicester’s first-choice left-back before making his international debut at the start of the 2018/19 season.

He featured in all but two of Leicester’s Premier League fixtures that season and was once again a regular during the interrupted 2019/20 term, scoring the first in the Foxes’ record-breaking 9-0 win at Southampton in October and firing in a brilliant late equaliser in their first game of the restart against Watford. Chilwell also netted against Chelsea at the start of February in a 2-2 draw between the sides.

International

Chilwell represented England at every age group from the Under-18s up before making his senior debut for Gareth Southgate’s side in a friendly held in Leicester against Switzerland in September 2018 (above). He made his first start a month later in a Nations League goalless draw in Croatia. He was a regular for the remainder of that Nations League campaign as England finished third in the finals.

The left-back also featured frequently in qualifying for Euro 2020, recording three assists in one game as the Three Lions thrashed Montenegro 7-0 at Wembley, and was named in England's squad for the delayed tournament itself, although he remained unused on their run to final.