Ben Chilwell is hoping that Chelsea’s switch to a back three can bolster the England chances of him and teammate Reece James ahead of this summer’s European Championships.
Chelsea have utilised a back three formation since the arrival of Thomas Tuchel as head coach, the switch having proven a positive one with the west London side unbeaten in 14 games in all competitions since the German’s arrival.
That period has also included 12 clean sheets as Chelsea have moved into the Premier League’s top four, in addition to reaching the latter stages of both the Champions League and FA Cup.
Whilst Tuchel’s arrival has helped spark an upturn in the Blues’ fortunes, Chilwell is also hopeful that his impact can boost the international prospects of both himself and fellow full-back James.
Gareth Southgate has often used wing-backs and a back three in recent years with England and Chilwell believes familiarity with the system at club level can boost the pair’s hopes of securing starting spots for the Three Lions.
“We’ve spoken about that, me and Reece particularly because it affects us the most,” Chilwell said, as per The Telegraph.
“If you look at the formation England are playing, the formation we’re playing here at the moment gives us the best possible chance to get used to playing in the positions that England want us to play in. Hopefully, that gives us a good chance going into the summer – that we can be used.
“My whole career, I’ve been more used to playing left-back than left wing-back. You know, the formation we’re playing suits a lot of players and it’s working for us very well. So if I want to play I have to adapt my game to be able to play left wing-back as well as left-back.
“I’m working hard in training and, coming into games, I’m asking a lot of questions, where I can be positionally, so I can improve and get more opportunities to play in that role. But on the other side of things when you’ve got two or three players in each position that can do different roles and have different strengths, it makes everyone train a lot harder, which is creating a good buzz around the place.”
Chilwell also discussed the differences between operating as an orthodox full-back and wing-back, admitting he is adjusting to the demands of the more advanced position in Tuchel’s preferred system.
“The main thing is when you’re playing wing-back, you’re already a lot higher up the pitch,” he said.
“When you’re playing left-back, you’re running on to things, using your speed to get up and down the pitch, which is my strength. Whereas left wing-back, you’re predominantly just in the attacking third, which I’ve had to adapt to. Against Sheffield United, I got a dubious goal and assist, so on the attacking side of things I’ve shown that I can play there as well as left-back.”