Back in May, Ben Chilwell was playing a key role in Chelsea’s Champions League triumph against Manchester City in May, was named in England’s Euro 2020 squad and was riding the crest of a wave.
Fast-forward four months and the picture is an awful lot different for the Blues defender. He didn’t play a single minute of England’s run to the Euros finals this summer and has yet to play a minute either for his club since the resumption of the Premier League just over a month ago.
He had lost his place in England’s side to Kieran Trippier and then Luke Shaw and at club level, has seen Marcos Alonso usurp him in the left wing-back spot of Thomas Tuchel’s five-man defence.
Tuchel, speaking ahead of Chelsea’s Champions League opener against Zenit St Petersburg on Tuesday: “It has absolutely been difficult for him and I think it is pretty normal. He came from a Champions League win and from a 90 minutes and a strong performance and had a good end of the season and played a lot of minutes for us and many important, crucial games on a high level.
“Then it was individually for him, personally a tough Euros because there were chances I think where he thought he could have played. He did not. So personally I know that it was a tough one because you feel he did everything to push the team. You feel as part of the team but you don’t feel it really if you don’t sweat it out on the pitch and you never wear the shirt and you are never really involved, it is a strange feeling.
“It was necessary to keep training for four or five weeks continuously. Then he had a personal break and it was hard for him to totally relax and to get his personal disappointment like off the shoulders. When he arrived here I felt him mentally tired. Still worrying about the situation and at the same time he had to accept.