Chilwell: Being back on the pitch means everything to me

Gavin Glicksman
LiveScore
23/05/202207:03
Ben Chilwell returned to action as Chelsea beat Watford 2-1
Ben Chilwell returned to action as Chelsea beat Watford 2-1

Ben Chilwell was only on the pitch for a matter of minutes as Chelsea beat Watford 2-1 yesterday — but the England star's smile said it all after six months on the sidelines.

The left-back, 25, suffered a knee ligament injury as the Blues thumped Juventus 4-0 in a Champions League group game last November. 

He underwent surgery the following month and was not expected to feature again this season but climbed off the bench before fellow sub Ross Barkley secured three points at Stamford Bridge with a last-gasp header. 

And Chilwell could not hide his delight after the game. He said: "This means everything to me — this is the moment that’s driven me.

"Getting on that pitch motivated me to work so hard in the gym. I’ve got to thank my family, plus the support of the staff and the boys has been amazing. 

"That’s been another thing that’s pushed me to have such a good recovery and feel so good. 

"It’s a very tight group. From day one of my injury, I’ve felt the support from the fans, the staff, the players… everyone involved with Chelsea. It’s made it a lot easier to get through it."

After being named among the subs following just one full week of training with his team-mates, the Chelsea faithful rose in unison to applaud as Chilwell replaced Mason Mount in the 89th minute against the Hornets. 

Ben Chilwell was sidelined after suffering a knee injury against Juventus
Ben Chilwell was sidelined after suffering a knee injury against Juventus

Describing the moment, he added: "It was an amazing reaction [from the crowd]. There were so many different emotions going through my head when I came on — excitement, nerves, everything.

"It’s been a long time since I’ve been on a football pitch. To get that in before the end of the season is really good. 

"Going into pre-season now, I can really kick on. I’ve had a week of training with the boys and have come on in the last game, so I can really hit the ground running."

Chilwell, a £50million signing from Leicester in August 2020, is best mates with Mount — and he suspects Thomas Tuchel knew it would be a nice touch for him to replace Chelsea's Player of the Season. 

He said: "I’ve not spoken to the manager, but it must have been deliberate.

"To come on for Mase was nice. He said to me, 'You've been brilliant, working so well to get back to where you are'. 

"I get a few weeks off now and then I’m back in. I’ve got a lot of work to do still and it’s important I work hard now over the summer."

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ChelseaPremier LeagueBen Chilwell
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