Wednesday Mar 22, 2023
NAPLES: England and Chelsea's left-back, Ben Chilwell, said that his absence from the World Cup due to an injury has contributed to his mental fortitude.
The 26-year-old tore his hamstring just before the tournament to rule him out of contention for Gareth Southgate’s squad.
Chilwell returned for Chelsea in February and his form at club level has earned an England recall for Euro 2024 qualifiers this week against Italy and Ukraine.
"Of course mentally it is very challenging," Chilwell told reporters on suffering his injury so close to the tournament in Qatar.
"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, so when I come back playing I’m ready to help Chelsea and England as well."
England’s wait for a first major tournament win since 1966 goes on after Southgate’s men bowed out to France in the quarter-finals in Qatar.
The return of both Chilwell and Chelsea teammate Reece James boosts the England coach’s options at full-back for a testing start to their qualifying campaign away at reigning champions Italy on Thursday.
Chilwell will be challenging Manchester United’s Luke Shaw for a start on the left, while James has stiff competition from Manchester City’s Kyle Walker and Kieran Trippier of Newcastle on the right.
"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," added Chilwell.
"We want to be one of those very successful teams in the near future so if we are going to have competition for places."