Chelsea's Ben Chilwell 'mentally stronger' after World Cup absence as fellow absentee Reece James helped him through injury

Ben Chilwell England training 2023Getty Images
  • Chilwell back in England set-up
  • "Mentality stronger" after World Cup setback
  • Revealed his work with James

WHAT HAPPENED? The 26-year-old picked up a hamstring injury just a few weeks before England's opener against Iran in Qatar, ruling him out of Gareth Southgate's squad and keeping him sidelined for Chelsea until early February.

Since his reintroduction to Graham Potter's set-up, Chilwell has arguably been one of the Blues' standout players, picking up a goal and assist in seven starts across all competitions. That form earned the left-back a call up for England's upcoming European qualifiers alongside Chelsea team-mate Reece James, and he has since revealed that the pair helped each other through their respective winter injuries.

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WHAT THEY SAID: "Of course mentally it is very challenging," Chilwell told reporters. "All footballers go through periods of their career when things are mentally challenging and you have to be resilient, be strong, go through it and come through the other side stronger. That's the way I've tried to look at things like the injuries I've had and missing the World Cup. I'm trying to spin it into a positive situation, so I can better myself mentally and physically."

On returning to the fray alongside James, the Chelsea left-back added: "Very pleased to see him back, I know what a great player Reece [James] is. In a weird way it was nice to have each other during that time as it was someone you could share the pain of missing a World Cup with and we helped each other a lot from the experience."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: While injuries haven't helped Chilwell's case - he also ruptured his ACL last season - Southgate has tended to prefer Manchester United's Luke Shaw in his position, either at full-back or as a wing-back. But that didn't appear deter to the Chelsea man, who openly relished the competition in the squad.

"One of the keys to a strong squad and successful squad is when you have two or three in each position pushing each other as competition for places is important in all successful teams," Chilwell added. "We want to be one of those very successful teams in the near future so if we are going to have competition for places at left-back it can only be a good thing and hopefully me and Luke can push each other."


Ben Chilwell England training 2022Getty ImagesChilwell lies downGettyBen Chilwell Chelsea 2022-23Getty Images

WHAT NEXT FOR CHILWELL? Whether as a starter or from the bench, the in-form full-back will be hoping to feature in England's opening European qualifier away at Italy on Thursday, before they host Ukraine on Sunday.