Chelsea verdict: Now is Chilwell’s time to shine and impress Southgate ahead of World Cup as Shaw rots on Man Utd bench
BEN CHILWELL is starting to find his feet at the right time with the World Cup just around the corner.
The Chelsea left-back, 25, missed 178 days of action in the last year following an ACL injury.
Such injuries are hard to bounce back from but Chilwell has shown promising signs of shaking off the rust in the new campaign and getting back to his old ways.
He has made five Premier League appearances and has one goal and two assists to his name.
And in Chelsea’s Champions League group stage opener against Dinamo Zagreb, Chilwell showed he’s more than capable – despite the Blues falling to a 1-0 defeat on Croatian soil.
Chilwell offered a good outlet out wide on the left, pressing high up the pitch to get balls into the opposition penalty area.
He thought he had another assist to his name in the second half as he was found by a searching ball over the top of Dinamo’s defence.
Chilwell played the ball across the face of goal and debutant Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang swept the ball home thinking he had got off to the perfect start to life at Chelsea – but the offside flag spoiled the party.
He was then subbed for summer signing Marc Cucurella in the 71st minute.
The ex-Leicester ace has a golden opportunity to impress England boss Gareth Southgate and stake a claim to the starting left-back spot.
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His main competition, Euro 2020 final goal scorer Luke Shaw, is marooned on Manchester United’s bench in a World Cup year.
New boss Erik ten Hag is instead opting for summer signing Tyrell Malacia on the left side of the defence.
And the Dutchman may be hesitant to rotate with the Red Devils on a rich run of form having won their last four league games.
Chilwell has 16 Chelsea games to impress Southgate, as well as an international break later this month, to put himself in good standing.
The Three Lions are closing the curtain on what was a torrid Nations League campaign.
In June, England recorded two losses to Hungary, including a 4-0 defeat at Molineux.
England also played out draws against European champions Italy and rivals Germany, capping off June conceding six and scoring just once.
Southgate’s men travel to Milan on September 23 to face Italy.
And they then face Germany at Wembley in the final match three days later to prepare for the Qatar winter tournament.
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