Thomas Tuchel believes Ben Chilwell is ready to make a return to the Chelsea starting XI despite not having played a competitive minute of action since the Champions League final at the end of May.
The 24-year-old was part of the England squad for this summer’s European Championship but wasn’t used by Gareth Southgate.
Part of the reason for that was the form of Luke Shaw, but also because Chilwell had to self-isolate for ten days after coming in close contact with Blues teammate Billy Gilmour, who tested positive for Covid-19 during the tournament.
That England reached the final of Euro 2020 meant Chilwell returned late for pre-season with Chelsea. The left-back wasn’t up to speed for the start of the Blues’ campaign and hasn’t been given any game time by Tuchel in the Blues’ opening four matches of the season.
“For Ben Chilwell, it’s very easy,” Tuchel explained when asked by football.london about the defender’s situation after the 1-1 draw against Liverpool at Anfield.
“He came back with the latest group [from his summer break]. When he arrived, Marcos Alonso had five weeks in his legs from pre-season. He played the first competitive matches and was simply way more ready physically. This was natural because of the training session and his fantastic games.
“He played the Super Cup final and three Premier League games. Also, we only have three substitutions allowed and this is a huge problem, a huge, huge disadvantage in the European competitions for any English team.
“We play in the toughest league in the world but only have three [in-game] changes allowed.
“So you can’t say after 60 minutes, ‘Ben, I’ll give you 30 minutes now so you’re ready to start the next game’. You can’t say, ‘let’s see with Thiago how long he can go’. It’s simply not possible.
“Everyone who went further in pre-season is very strong [physically]. This is the only reason.
“But look at how Thiago played today, he was excellent. I could feel he was absolutely ready in the last week. I’ve known him a long time now, he made a huge step.
“Chilly needed his time in training to adapt to the intensity. He is ready now but it [facing Liverpool] wasn’t the moment to push him into the cold water.”
Source by Football London