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Chilwell steps up with timely message to Tuchel and Southgate

B

en Chilwell’s impact from Chelsea’s bench was of staggering importance as his side needed to find a win at all costs after going 1-0 down to West Ham.

The 25-year-old reminded the world of his worth by providing a goal and assist for Kai Havertz’s winner in the 2-1 win, which saw Maxwel Cornet’s goal controversially ruled out.

His goal was a moment of magic, controlling Thiago Silva’s long punt with his head and producing an instinctive finish between Lukasz Fabianski’s legs.

It was a beautiful moment for a player who has been frustratingly left on the bench after the £62million signing of Marc Cucurella.

He also regained match fitness after his serious knee injury suffered in December 2021, forced to play in Under-21s matches with the Spain international taking his spot.

Ahead of the season, the wing back said that he was ready and wanted to take a big role with the World Cup in his sights with England.

“The World Cup is a big motivation as well as the season with Chelsea,” he told Standard Sport over pre-season. “If I play well between now and then I am confident I will be in the squad.

“That’s my mindset and I wasn’t worried. I just wanted to do everything I can to be the best version of myself.”

Chilwell said those words carried huge disappointments from not playing a single minute at Euro 2020 after being forced to isolate due to COVID protocols after a conversation with Billy Gilmour after the match.

The renewed competition was a setback to those goals after seeing off challengers in the now departed Marcos Alonso and Emerson Palmieri in the past.

Cucurella is a greater challenge, having joined for a fee bigger than his £50m coming from Leicester City.

Thomas Tuchel has said he can play the pair together but has opted not to despite having the opportunities with numbers short in defence until deadline day.

Indeed, against West Ham, Cucurella was poor in a 3-5-2 formation which demanded him to provide even more attacking creativity with fewer attackers on the pitch.

Chilwell was ready, despite being disappointed to be left out once again, taking his chance to impact the game from the bench with his quality and positive spirit.

He told Sky Sports after the match: “The last 20 or 30 minutes were a lot of different emotions!

“Just happy to get the win. I have had to be patient, bide my time and make sure I am training hard to make sure I can come in and make an impact.”

Chelsea are blessed with immense riches from the new Boehly-Clearlake ownership group and they’ve created an all-star squad.

It does, however, lead to players who want to play awkwardly being dropped. On Saturday, with the pressure at its absolute highest, Chilwell reminded everyone of his worth and Gareth Southgate will have no doubt been watching.

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