Chelsea defender Ben Chilwell will be ruled out of this year’s World Cup as a result of the hamstring injury he suffered during Tuesday’s win over Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League group stages, according to reports. The 25-year-old would have ordinarily been a shoe-in for the England squad after establishing himself as Chelsea’s first-choice left-back over the last few years but will instead be forced to watch the action in Qatar from the sidelines.
Chilwell pulled up with a problem during the closing stages of Chelsea’s victory on Tuesday and looked far from happy as he was helped down the tunnel, with the World Cup only a matter of days away from kicking off. He is now expected to miss out on a place at the tournament as he awaits the result of a scan to determine the severity of the injury, according to the Evening Standard.
It is claimed that initial assessments have put Chilwell’s estimated recovery time at between four and 12 weeks, which in any case would see him overlooked by Gareth Southgate when his final England squad is named at some point before the end of next week. Chelsea are said to be worried that Chilwell has suffered a grade two hamstring tear, although the true extent of the problem is yet to be confirmed by the club’s medical staff.
Graham Potter has been warned not to expect Chilwell to be available for any of Chelsea’s fixtures before the World Cup gets underway, with the Blues set to face Arsenal, Manchester City and Newcastle prior to the start of the tournament. The injury will represent a crushing blow for Chilwell, who missed a large chunk of the previous campaign with another long-term setback and spoke excitedly of his desire to represent England in Qatar when quizzed on the topic earlier this year.
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“The World Cup is a big motivation as well as the season with Chelsea,” Chilwell told reporters back in July. “If I play well between now and then I am confident I will be in the squad. That’s my mindset and I wasn’t worried.
“I just wanted to do everything I can to be the best version of myself and play well for Chelsea for four months to give myself a chance to be picked. I dreamed of playing in the World Cup ever since I can remember, to know it is around the corner is more motivation than you know for me to see if I can establish my spot, especially after the Euros which was a difficult time for me.
“I want to be the left-back in the team and I think we can do really well and go a long way. It would be amazing. It would be a highlight of not just my career but my life, so I am going to work for it for the next four months.”
Chilwell’s absence from the World Cup is likely to see Luke Shaw return as England’s starting left-back after fulfilling the same role at Euro 2020 just over a year ago. It remains to be seen who Southgate will decide to name in the squad in place of Chilwell, though, with the likes of Ryan Sessegnon and Tyrick Mitchell likely to be among those under consideration.
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