Ben Chilwell’s importance in Leicester City’s developing team


Christian Fuchs pretty much always does well in a Leicester City shirt. Reliable, great at set-pieces, experienced, a technician. So many attributes added to the roster; as well as scoring the odd stunning goal too – like the Fleetwood Town one. Yet, he is outran by many youthful wingers in the Premier League. Consequently, he now, correctly, finds himself understudy to Ben Chilwell. A transition.

Chilwell’s star has risen this season in particular. The talent and potential to become the starting left-back for the Foxes was always evident. Although, some critics accurately pointed out his obvious trepidation in previous seasons; especially going forward. This and his strength has been well amended preseason. Now, the 21-year-old is a firm fixture, no, an ever-present, at the King Power Stadium, along with becoming a breakout premiership star.

Speed, along with improved confidence and physicality are most noteworthy in the increased repertoire of the exciting defender. However, ‘defender’ is an inaccurate clarification for a modern player of Chilwell’s ilk. Yes, they competently defend, but, it is in attack, forward progression, linking and key passes which give them this new high-profile and importance.

‘Chilly’, as some know him, has the statistics to back this piece up. Firstly he is sprinting more and faster than Demarai Gray and Ricardo Pereira; remarkably Chilwell never appears to feel fatigue. One time Leicester City manager Craig Shakespeare even lauded his former player’s heading ability, despite unimposing height.

In one appearance alone, at home to Wolves, the senior England prospect managed an imposing output: 38 out of 43 passes completed. Five successful tackles made. In addition to five blocks, four take ons and clearances each. Winning half of his battles in the air. One shot on target, interception and key pass. Wow.

In a similar style to Benjamin Mendy at Manchester City, Chilwell bombs forward up the pitch in attack; and is rampant at getting back on defensive cover. Squawka recently produced an article on Mendy; it states that along with options in attack, having a quick, forward thinking full-back like him or Chilwell enables a team to overcome an opposition’s deep defence.

Describing Mendy as: “a deep-block siege weapon”, is beautifully eloquent. Whereas, teams do not sit back as much against the Foxes, as they do the Citizens – this approach still applies at the King Power. Whether a swift counter attack or in a steadier build up, getting the ball to either flank to manoeuvre, is the ethic.

Sky Sports cite the former Huddersfield Town loanee as an energetic, technical, focussed young professional and possibly the ‘next big thing’.

Talk of an England call-up has engulfed the Leicester City camp, surrounding: Chilwell, Gray and James Maddison. If the left-back’s final decisions improve on the pitch like his crossing and set-pieces and his assist/goal ratio increases slightly – he will be named in a Gareth Southgate squad this season!

There is evidently an affable nature between the simpatico Chilwell and Gray. With the addition of Maddison – another Three Lions U21 buddy – the trio produce fantastic youthful link-up play. Benefitting the new look Leicester City side no end.

Another representation of the defender’s prowess is the acknowledgement he received from Bleacher Report. Milton Keynes born Chilwell ranks just behind Chelsea’s Marcos Alonso and Liverpool’s Andrew Robertson on their 100 best Premier League players so far. In addition, the Englishman is ahead of probable future international rival, Manchester United’s Luke Shaw.

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Transition to Claude Puel‘s main-man at left-back for the Foxes is one thing; Chilwell’s take-over of England duties will be a challenge. Especially with Ashley Young, Shaw and Fabian Delph favourable at present.