Defender Ben Chilwell is the latest piece in the expensive Chelsea rebuild as Frank Lampard puts together a squad to challenge for the biggest prizes.
AFP Sport picks out three things about Chilwell, who rose rapidly through Leicester City’s ranks to become an England international and is considered one of the best left-backs in the country.
From flannels to shorts
Chilwell, now 23, opted for football over cricket even though he impressed at the summer game. “Maybe I was an even better cricketer than a footballer,” Chilwell told the Guardian. “I was in the Northants academy set-up… then started playing men’s cricket when I was 15. That’s when I stopped enjoying it. It was long days, 50-over games with men 15 years older, who you don’t really have anything in common with, all talking about going to the pub.” He was one of the young guns when he made his football debut for Leicester as a teenager in 2015, sharing a dressing room with veterans Wes Morgan and Robert Huth, but quickly became established at the King Power Stadium.
Inspired by Jordan
Chilwell was inspired during football’s coronavirus shutdown by watching the documentary series “The Last Dance”, which focuses on the final NBA title won by Michael Jordan and the 1990s Chicago Bulls dynasty.
“‘The Last Dance'” was the best thing to watch as an athlete myself, because it just motivates you,” he told the Daily Telegraph.
“When you see Michael Jordan, an elite competitor in sport, it’s easy to think about doing exercise by yourself at home. It reminds you of the levels you have to be at to reach the top.”
Chilwell was devastated by the death of Leicester’s Thai owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha in a helicopter crash in October 2018 that also claimed the lives of four other people.
“Horrible. It was the coldest, hardest thing to come in to on the Monday,” Chilwell told the Daily Mail.
‘”I’d left the stadium, Harry Maguire rang me and said: ‘Have you heard?’ Then it got put in the group chat. The Monday was horrible. It was the coldest, hardest thing — no one was talking.
“I’m sure other football clubs would say they don’t even know who their owners are. But he was so involved, not just financially, but if we weren’t playing well he’d come in and say ‘You need to be doing this’. He was so passionate.”