Chelsea's Bertrand could 'hardly believe' Champions League final start

The Blues defender admits that he was shocked to be included in Roberto Di Matteo's line-up and adds that the whole occasion bought back memories of playing football as a child
Chelsea defender Ryan Bertrand admits that he "could hardly believe" that he had been picked to start Saturday’s Champions League final victory over Bayern Munich.

The 22-year-old was preferred to more experienced options like Michael Essien and Florent Malouda for the showpiece match at the Allianz Arena, which the west Londoners won on penalties.

And Bertrand, who been farmed out on loan to various Football League clubs during his time with Chelsea, says that the call-up to the first team for such a big game bought back memories from his childhood.

“When the manager told me I was playing, of course I could hardly believe it, but I knew what I had to do," he told reporters.

Mikel and Di Matteo thrilled
"I'm still waiting for someone to pinch me now. I tried to relax and go to sleep in the afternoon but had all these images flashing through my mind.

"I was getting all these flashbacks, too, of when I was a kid, growing up in South London, in Peckham, in Bermondsey, tough places, playing against the wall with my mates."

Bertrand was played on the left of midfield, rather than his favoured left-back berth, and he was quick to praise the club’s first choice full-back Ashley Cole for helping him throughout the game.

He also thanked other experienced players at the club, who had been on the fringes at times under previous manager Andre Villas-Boas.

"Ashley Cole has been such a massive help to me too, all the way through," he continued. "It was great being out there with him, he kept his eye on me.

"I can't believe it, it hasn't sunk in. Looking at the experienced players, I am so happy for them.

"I didn't want to go out and let anyone down, especially the manager, and these guys have got what they've always been fighting for."