Gary Neville warns ‘tentative’ Ben Chilwell there are ‘no hiding places at a big club’ and challenges him to build ‘trust’ by ‘staying fit for a long time’ as he makes first start for Chelsea in four months

Ben Chilwell must rebuild ‘trust’ with Chelsea and England by staying fit ‘for a long time’ after being handed his first start for the Blues in four months. 

The left back has been blighted by injury and that has seen his stock fall.

But restored to the line-up for Chelsea’s must-win Carabao Cup semi-final second leg against Middlesbrough on Tuesday night, Chilwell was given a challenge by Gary Neville on what must happen now in the run up to Euro 2024 this summer.

‘When I watch Ben Chilwell play sometimes, you always feel like an injury is waiting to happen,’ Neville said on Sky Sports. 

‘He looks a bit pensive and a bit tentative. It must be getting to a point at Chelsea where you need reliability and consistency from your defenders. You can’t always be talking about when players come back. 

‘He’s got to try – and it sounds like the easiest thing in the world – to stay fit for a longer period. Mauricio Pochettino needs to build a team and a back four in particular.’

Full-back has been a real problem area for Pochettino and Chelsea, with Reece James suffering a spate of injuries, too.  

‘It’s a massive problem for Chelsea that James are Chilwell, we’re always talking about them. They never seem to be able to get them on the pitch,’ Neville added.

‘If that can happen, it’ll make Mauricio Pochettino’s job a lot easier. 

‘There’s no hiding places at a big club with a lot of expectation. For Ben Chilwell, we know he can play for England, we know he can play at a high level, we know he’s got great quality going forward. It’s about making sure that he’s building trust in injuries. 

‘I just hope mentally that Ben Chilwell is OK to the point whereby he’s not going on to the pitch thinking: “am I going to get injured?” It’s a terrible feeling and I do feel for him in that sense.’ 

More to follow.