Ben Chilwell reacts to first Chelsea start since returning from ACL injury
| Last updated
Chelsea defender Ben Chilwell has reacted to him making his first start for the club since he picked up a long-term injury towards the end of 2021.
Back in November, the 25-year-old came off injured against Juventus in their Champions League match at Stamford Bridge, and it was soon revealed that he had a serious knock to his anterior cruciate ligament.
At first, there was belief that he would be able to make a swift recovery and return to the side, but Chilwell suffered a setback during the festive period and had to undergo surgery.
He made his first appearance in a Chelsea shirt since the injury on the final day of the last season, coming off the bench late on in the 2-1 win against Watford.
On Saturday evening, he was named in the starting lineup in their Premier League opener against Everton, in which they won 1-0.
The left wing-back played 65 minutes of the game at Goodison Park before being substituted, with the England international not yet back to full fitness.
After the win on the road, Chilwell spoke on what it was like to make his first start for the club since November and how he fared across the match.
"I've had the whole of pre-season and a few extra weeks coming in early,'' he told Sky Sports.
“It's completely different to today. It's intense.
“One of the toughest places to come here, first game and happy to get the win. I'm exhausted."
Although Chilwell did not last the full game, he played a crucial role in the goal that sealed the three points for his side.
Deep into stoppage time at the end of the first half, he was tackled inside the area by Abdoulaye Doucoure and Chelsea were awarded a penalty.
Jorginho soon stepped up to the spot and scored for the Blues, ensuring they won their first game of the new campaign.
It was also an important occasion for some of those in the Chelsea squad, with four of them making their debuts for the club.
Raheem Sterling and Kalidou Koulibaly both played their first competitive matches for the side since joining earlier in the summer.
Marc Cucurella, whose arrival was only announced on Friday afternoon and will provide competition for Chilwell, came on with 15 minutes to go.
Conor Gallagher also made his first appearance after four loan spells away from the club, with the 22-year-old impressing in his most recent stint at Crystal Palace last season.
Chelsea are currently sixth in the Premier League table after one game, with next Saturday’s opponents Tottenham Hotspur sitting top of the pile.