The England international is increasingly finding himself on the bench after being a favourite of his previous manager
Thomas Tuchel has issued assurances to Ben Chilwell, who lost his starting spot in Chelsea’s team soon after Tuchel took over as manager in late January.
The £50 million ($69m) signing from Leicester City was one of former boss Frank Lampard’s favourite players, but he has been benched in three of Tuchel’s first five games in charge. He was subbed off in his only two starts.
Tuchel has increasingly seen Marcos Alonso as a better option than Chilwell after switching to a three-man defence complemented by wing-backs.
What did Tuchel say about Chilwell?
“Yes, if he is [worried] I can understand,” Tuchel told reporters ahead of Monday’s clash with Newcastle at Stamford Bridge. “He has had some difficult decisions against him, where they were tight choices.
“I took the choice for Marcos [Alonso] where we played with a five because he was more familiar with the position. He played there under Antonio Conte and we opted for Marcos against Burnley for his strengths in the air for headers to defend and attack set-pieces.
“Marcos had a really good match where he scored a decisive goal and from there it was hard to come back for Tottenham. We didn’t make changes in this position. I spoke to him before the Tottenham match and said you have to trust me now that I see your talent and potential.
“I see also with Chilly a very nice guy, reflective guy and an intelligent guy. I maybe felt it in the first days that it is possible that he thinks a lot about this situation but hopefully not too much because he can trust himself and us as a staff that he can keep pushing and we will find possibilities to reward him.
“He showed a good performance in Sheffield United and it was important for him and the team. Sometimes it takes a little time and there are hard decision at the moment, at a club like Chelsea, with a squad of 22 players.
“Hopefully, we don’t have a lot of injuries but we have to deal with these situations. It is my job not to lose these players and to help them not lose trust. If he keeps on going, as a fantastic guy, he has a lot of potential and we will find possibilities for him on the pitch.
“At the same time, we wanted to give a fair start to everybody and not judge the amount of money that the club has spent but give everybody a feeling of a fresh start. Yes, Marcos is at the moment is a guy who took advantage of this situation but it is not the end of Chilly’s development. That’s for sure.”
What’s happening in Chelsea’s other wing-back position?
Callum Hudson-Odoi has been a revelation in the right-wing back role in Tuchel’s early spell at the club as he seeks attacking output from the players in those positions.
The 20-year-old has gone from being an impact player to a starter after Lampard was sacked, though he’s still jostling for the role with Reece James. Tuchel sees Hudson-Odoi as a big player for Chelsea already but doesn’t want him to compare himself to Chelsea’s big signings.
“All I care about with how Callum works on his talent,” he continued. “With big talent comes a big responsibility to use your talent to go and be ready to make the next step even if it is just a little step forward.
“Normally if you start comparing yourself with others as a player or a person generally, you start to become unhappy in a situation where you are normally happy.
“He can be, when in his comfort zone, showing composure in front of goal by scoring or getting assists. But, at Under-17s level, U19, U20 and Premier League there are steps to go forward. This is clearly his next step to becoming a regular player. To be on a certain level all the time.
“Sometimes in difficult phases, it can be a challenge to hold the level, not just improve but hold it to make the next step. We will be at his side because he has had a very good start. Now it is a challenge to show this every minute and every day.
“This is clearly the next step, to rely not only on match minutes but show that spirit in every minute here at Cobham that it become routine for him.”
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