Thomas Tuchel has handled Ben Chilwell reintegration perfectly and Chelsea are about to benefit – Anita Abayomi

Arguably, the best left-back option for Chelsea is currently Ben Chilwell. Once hailed as overrated and excessively valued, Chilwell has warmed the hearts of the Chelsea faithful by delivering stellar performances which kept Marcos Alonso and Emerson Palmieri at arm’s length in the battle to become the club’s first-choice option on the left flank.

Since the Champions League final in May, we have yet to see Chilwell play a part in any of Thomas Tuchel’s starting lineups. In fact, he, unfortunately, didn’t spend a minute of game time under Gareth Southgate during England’s Euro’s campaign. Is there something that we are missing? Or does this offer a pause for reflection on where he’s at in his fledgling career? The debate continues to unfold as we wait for his potential reintroduction to the team against Tottenham this afternoon Whilst his wait for minutes goes on, there may be more to the situation than meets the eye. Could Tuchel actually be protecting his player in this situation?

Tuchel has been inundated with questions regarding his decision to leave the English left-back on the bench in place of Marcos Alonso. It is important to take into account that upon Tuchel’s initial arrival at Chelsea, the German coach preferred Alonso, to begin with.

The beginning of Tuchel’s reign handed Alonso the opportunity to stake a claim for more first-team involvement following Frank Lampard’s decision to sign Chilwell and make him his No.1 choice in the position. He did this successfully and managed to retain his starting spot in the Chelsea XI. Chilwell fought back to prove that he was worthy to start despite the Spaniard’s impressive run of form. His perseverance and dedication helped him ease his way back into the starting XI and subsequently play a pivotal role in Chelsea’s Champions League final win over Manchester City.

The bravery of Chilwell is not spoken about enough though. In 2020, Chilwell plucked up the courage to invite the world into his personal life. He took to social media to voice his struggles with his mental health and how it affected his confidence both on and off the pitch.

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“Last year I went through a period where my confidence took a hit and it affected me in my everyday life,” he wrote. “I eventually spoke to someone about it and found it helped a lot. In football especially, people don’t like to show weakness. But talking about difficulties or problems in your life with others is important.”

“Everyone is going through something and hopefully someone has seen this tweet and feels they are able to talk to someone about something troubling them, where they felt they couldn’t before.”



LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 14: Thomas Tuchel, Manager of Chelsea talks to the media after the UEFA Champions League group H match between Chelsea FC and Zenit St. Petersburg at Stamford Bridge on September 14, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Steve Bardens - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)
Thomas Tuchel has great competition in his squad and the left-wing-back position is no different

Given the euphoria of the club’s Champions League triumph, followed by the low of having to play second fiddle at a European Championships disrupted by COVID-19 and it is perhaps not a surprise that Tuchel has removed Chilwell from the glare of the unforgiving spotlight at Chelsea. Where others may see the situation as Chilwell losing his spot to Alonso, I see it as Tuchel protecting his players at all costs when he deems it necessary.

“He came from a Champions League win, and from 90 minutes and a strong performance, and had a good end of the season in general,” said Tuchel.

“Then it was individually for him a tough Euros, because there were chances I think where he thought he could have played, and he did not.

“So I know it was difficult for him. Because you feel he did everything to push the team, you feel part of the team but you don’t feel it really if you don’t sweat it out sometimes on the pitch and you never wear the shirt and if you’re never really involved, it is a strange feeling.”

It’s clear Tuchel has taken into account the feelings of a player not being able to play in his country’s shirt despite knowing that he is good enough to play. Failing to nail down the position is surely something that plays on the confidence of any player and this may well have been the case for Chilwell.

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Ben Chilwell has been in this situation at the start of Tuchels reign
Ben Chilwell will be looking to push his way back into the side in the next few weeks

“It was hard for him to totally relax and to get this personal disappointment, that he would never put out on the team, off his shoulders.

“And when he arrived here I felt him a bit mentally tired, a bit still worrying about the situation.”

It sounds like Chilwell has endured a difficult time in recent months and will need Chelsea fans’ backing. Tuchel insists that the player is ready to get some minutes under his belt and most importantly he is in good spirits off the field. Patience is the key here and it’s something Tuchel has emphasised that he needed to not force it too hard on the pitch.

“It took some time, he had to give himself a little bit more time to be a bit more patient with himself, to find the joy again and to find things a little easier on the pitch and do not want to force it too hard.”

In the words of Tuchel, Chilwell is one of two “specialists” for the left-wing-back role. He and Alonso will have to battle for the right to start for the Blues but they can only benefit from a player who featured extensively last season being given the break he has deserved. If Chilwell can return to the fold with the same vigour he showed in his first season at the club, this will be the latest stroke of genius management from Tuchel, who is proving himself as someone who can deal well with individuals as much as the collective.

Chilwell’s absence from the Chelsea XI ought to be considered an intelligent use of resources, rather than the idea of any demotion. And he’s prepared to come back even stronger.

What are your thoughts about Ben Chilwell? Follow our new CareFreeChelsea Writer/Presenter Anita Abayomi on Twitter to get involved in the discussion and give us your thoughts in the comments section below.

Source by Football London

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