Ben Chilwell has claimed England manager Gareth Southgate has been extremely supportive as he recovered from his long-term knee injury.
Speaking to The Athletic, the 25-year-old has outlined his desire to become the starting left-back for the World Cup, with his national team boss’ support the catalyst for his newly set target.
The former Leicester City man saw a promising season cut short in November, when a serious knee injury ended his campaign for club and country.
This, combined with not making an appearance for his country during their impressive Euro 2020 campaign 12 months ago has stalled his developments, whilst also taking a toll on him mentally.
However, the man who failed to give him a single minute during that tournament has been in contact with Chilwell recently, as he makes his return to first team football while on tour with the side in America.
Chilwell told the Athletic: “I spoke to Gareth a few times (while injured). He was in contact a lot with the staff here at Chelsea, so he gave me a few messages, saying he heard I am doing really well, just keep going and hopefully see you soon. It is nice to feel like although you aren’t there with the squad, that the manager is looking out and keeping an eye on you. It is positive as you know you are still in their thoughts and he is checking up on me.”
Chilwell shares Southgate messages
England’s lack of a recognised first choice left-back has opened the door for the Chelsea man to storm straight into the starting lineup, with him claiming starting in Qatar this winter is one of his biggest targets right now.
He said: “What are the chances of me being first choice at the World Cup? That’s 100 per cent my aim. I’ve dreamed of playing in a World Cup since I can remember and to know it’s just around the corner is more motivation for me to seal that spot down, not just for myself but for my family — especially after the Euros in what was a difficult time for me.”
In the brief time Chelsea fans saw Chilwell this season, he looked set to have his best season yet as a Premier League player, with regular goalscoring looking to be a feature he was adding to his game.
If he can stay fit this season, his presence could be the catalyst for the Blues launching a title challenge.