Ben Chilwell’s itinerary for the coming weeks includes a trip to Porto for the Champions League final against Manchester City, followed by hopefully quite a few nights at Wembley, playing for England at Euro 2020.
But none of those great opportunities will make him as nervous as facing former club Leicester City in Saturday’s FA Cup final.
‘The FA Cup against Leicester is the big one for me. To play against them in the final … there hasn’t been a match in my career that I wanted to win anymore, ‘he said MOTDx this week.
Ben Chilwell has enjoyed an impressive first season in Chelsea colors and could end it by winning both the FA Cup and Champions League this month.
It was Frank Lampard who brought Chilwell out of Leicester last summer in a £ 50 million deal
Initially there were concerns about his place, but Chilwell has won Thomas Tuchel’s trust
Since Chilwell’s £ 50 million move from Leicester to Chelsea last August, not enough time has passed for it to be otherwise.
The left back is still close to his former teammates and he admitted that losing them at King Power Stadium in January was the low point of his Chelsea career so far.
That 2-0 defeat turned out to be Frank Lampard’s last Premier League match on the Chelsea lane.
Chilwell was Lampard’s undisputed first choice as a left back – unsurprisingly considering he signed him – but for a short while when Thomas Tuchel came in, it seemed questionable.
The German manager wanted to give everyone a clean slate and that offers Marcos Alonso, frozen by Lampard, a route back into the team.
In Chilwell’s own words, Alonso was much better suited to play as a fullback in a defensive five.
Tuchel initially recovered Marcos Alonso from the Chelsea side, preferring five in the back
But Chilwell has regained his place on the left, appearing in all of Chelsea’s major games
‘I haven’t really played in a back five. I played the first game when he [Tuchel] came in against Wolves, didn’t have my best game, wasn’t really sure about positioning, where I needed to be, ” he said. Football AM this week.
So when I got out of the team I just took it as an opportunity to learn in training. Learn from Marcos what he does in games. Ask the manager what he thinks I can do to improve my game.
‘It just gave me that extra push to give just that little bit more to show him that you should be playing.
“And if you get the chance to play, make sure you grab it.”
It soon became apparent to Tuchel that Chilwell could do the business as a fullback and has been favored in every game of every note ever since.
Tuchel thanks Chilwell after scoring the second goal in Chelsea’s first leg win over Porto
He also completed both legs of victory over Real Madrid in the semi-final of the Champions League
15 May Leicester City (Wembley)
FA Cup final
May 18 Leicester City (H)
May 23 Aston Villa (A)
May 29 Manchester City (Porto)
Champions League Final
He played in both legs of the Champions League quarter-final against Porto and the semi-final with Real Madrid, against Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-final and in big league matches with Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal. First choice again, without a doubt.
So while there are murmurs that Tuchel was so annoyed with his team’s performance in the 1-0 defeat to Arsenal on Wednesday, chances are Chilwell will face his old club at Wembley.
Chilwell joined the Leicester academy at the age of 12 and they gave him the perfect foundation in the game.
It was Claudio Ranieri who handed the teen his first-team debut in a League Cup match during the 2015-16 title-winning season that propelled him and his team to immortality.
He was linked with a move to Liverpool in the summer of 2016, but instead signed a new five-year deal with Leicester.
Chilwell pictured with Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers after a game last season
Chilwell scored a stunning goal for Leicester away to Watford shortly after the restart last year
When Chilwell drew attention on his Premier League debut against Everton in December 2016, he was a rare ray of hope in a season where the reigning champion flirted with relegation.
He gradually moved Christian Fuchs from left-back and went on to get stronger over the next three seasons.
His crossing developed during that time and the assists started to flow. Also his finish, not least with the left-footed rocket he scored in Watford last season, just after the lockdown.
Moments like that convinced Chelsea to fall for Leicester one more time and Chilwell followed N’Golo Kante and Danny Drinkwater on the path from the East Midlands to Stamford Bridge.
Chilwell (left) slides in to celebrate with Mason Mount and Christian Pulisic against Real
A lot has happened in the meantime, but Chilwell has had a great season and it could still end with the first two medals of his career.
Not that Leicester really struggles without him. They are above Chelsea in the Premier League table after another positive season under Brendan Rodgers and will do their utmost to win the FA Cup for the first time.
The rise of James Justin and then 19-year-old Luke Thomas in the old position of Chilwell has once again shown Leicester’s ability to move forward after the departure of big names.
But Chilwell has undoubtedly gone a step further and delivered the goods. He would be ready for a great summer.