Ben Chilwell has emerged from the shadows of Chelsea’s blockbuster summer transfer business

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Ben Chilwell has emerged from the shadows of Chelsea’s blockbuster summer transfer business and after some friendly tips from Ashley Cole he is now ready to inherit his shirt for both club and country
Ben Chilwell snuck in at the back post to set Chelsea on course for victory
It reflected his beginning to life at the club since arriving from Leicester
His £50m arrival was overshadowed by the club’s new attacking arsenal

By the time Hakim Ziyech’s devilish cross reached Ben Chilwell, the defender’s attentions appeared to be elsewhere.

Before the ball clipped off his hip and past Aaron Ramsdale, Chilwell seemed more concerned about colliding with the woodwork. Or dislodging his slicked-back hair, as Ashley Cole later joked.

And yet the way Chilwell had snuck in at the back post to set Chelsea on course for victory over Sheffield United felt rather fitting.

After all, the left back has spent much of the past few weeks drifting just out of focus; working quietly in the shadows as spotlights shone elsewhere.

When Frank Lampard paid £50million to prise him from Leicester, Chilwell became the most costly English left back of all time.

Come the end of Chelsea’s summer spending spree, however, eyes had turned to their new attacking arsenal.

When defensive calamity was replaced by calmer waters at Stamford Bridge, pundits rushed to highlight the impact of Edouard Mendy and Thiago Silva.

Even as England accrued a stock of fearless young right backs, it seemed their opposite flank had become a blindspot.

Perhaps the only time Chilwell has received the attention he deserved?

When he, Jason Sancho and Tammy Abraham became the latest England stars to flout coronavirus regulations.

Thankfully, it’s only good news now – for Lampard, as Chelsea picked up a fourth successive win. And for Gareth Southgate as England reconvene for an international triple-header.

Chilwell is the only specialist left back in the Three Lions squad and his presence is a welcome relief.

The 23-year-old has missed England’s last five matches through injury, illness and an ill-thought out party; his last international appearance came nearly a year ago.

In that time, Southgate’s side have appeared horribly lop-sided with Kieran Tripper and the versatile Bukayo Saka and Ainsley Maitland-Niles all asked to deputise.

Chilwell’s absence highlighted that, for all the depth on the right, England are short on their left heading into the rearranged Euros.

For so long, Cole dominated that flank for England and Chelsea. And over the summer, he helped tutor his latest heir apparent.

‘I had a conversation with (Chilwell) and it was (him asking): ‘What do I need to make it at Chelsea?’,’ Cole revealed on Saturday.

‘He was so enthusiastic, he wanted to learn and he wanted to be a fan favourite.’

Again on Saturday Chilwell showed he has all the ingredients for a long future for club and country.

No one could match his three shots on target; only a smart save by Ramsdale stopped him netting a second goal shortly before half-time.

More crucial for Lampard, though, is the defensive solidity Chilwell provides – particularly given Chelsea’s struggles with Marcos Alonso and Emerson before he joined. It’s no coincidence Chelsea have yet to lose a league game Chilwell has started. Now, England will hope for much of the same.


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