21

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.

At the time of his arrival at Stamford Bridge, Chilwell was regarded as one of the most established and promising full-backs in the Premier League, having made over 120 appearances for Leicester City since his debut as an 18-year-old back in October 2015.

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 and was a key figure in Leicester’s increasingly resilient rearguard.

In the 2019/20 campaign at the King Power Stadium, he featured on 33 occasions for Brendan Rodgers’ side, scoring three goals as the Foxes finished fifth.

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 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.

Chilwell’s improvement in attacking output was evident with increased numbers for goal contributions in his last three Premier League campaigns at Leicester, from two in 2017/18 to six in 2019/20.

Defensively, Chilwell is patient in the tackle, often utilising his tactical understanding and body positioning to keep tabs on tricky wingers and to limit their effectiveness. He is good one-against-one and has a useful burst of pace to recover when caught higher up the pitch as opponents spring forward on the counter-attack. At 5ft 10in, he is not the tallest but competes well in the air.

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.

He made his first start a month later in a Nations League goalless draw in Croatia and has 11 caps in total for the Three Lions to date.


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 has once again been 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 back at the start of February in a 2-2 draw between the sides.