Ben Chilwell back in the Chelsea mix

Ben Chilwell of Chelsea in action during a Chelsea FC Training Session at Chelsea Training Ground on September 02, 2021 in Cobham, England.

As he sat with Mason Mount and Reece James in the centre of the Estadio do Dragao pitch in the aftermath of Chelsea’s Champions League success, Ben Chilwell must have thought he was about to enjoy the best summer of his life.

And yet it proved to be one of disappointment for the full-back, who has not played a minute of football since helping Chelsea beat Manchester City in the Champions League final at the end of May.

The 24-year-old is the only Chelsea player to have started the final who is yet to play for the club this season, having also been one of only three outfield players not to make an appearance for England during the European Championship.

Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel, ahead of tonight’s Champions League opener against Zenit St Petersburg, said: “It has absolutely been difficult for him (Chilwell). He came from a Champions League and some crucial games at a high level.

“For him personally, then it was a tough Euros because there were chances where he thought he could have played, but he did not.”

Having scored Chelsea’s first league goal of the season against Crystal Palace, Marcus Alonso has started all four games in the club’s unbeaten start and wore the captain’s armband against Aston Villa, with Chilwell once again looking on from the bench.

“He (Chilwell) was very unlucky at the start of the season because Marcos was here the whole pre-season and every single training session, and he took this opportunity so well,” said Tuchel. “We had some talks with Chilly about the situation. It took some time. He is in the race now. He is in good shape with a good attitude, so he can play any minute.”

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