I t was always going to happen; some jokes, maybe - to be to cut short the tension, between the players of Chelsea and Manchester City in the English team of Gareth Southgate. They had already met on the battlefield of the Champions League final in Porto. Now, after showing up for Euro 2020 this weekend, the mood was completely different.
Ben Chilwell doesn't want go into details on who says or does what to whom, suffice to say that it is the City players - ie Kyle Walker, John Stones, Raheem Sterling and Phil Foden - who "have them prompted - a few things, all lightly ". p id = " sign-in-gate ">
Chilwell, himself, as well as Reece James and Mason Mount can take it. They can take just about anything after the 1-0 win that etched their name into Chelsea folklore. At such a young age, with Chilwell the eldest statesman in only 24 years old, they became legends of the club before their time, the enormity of their feat is still far from having sunk.
But here is the chdare. Chilwell says the experience he and his Chelsea teammates shared in Porto with their City counterparts has bound them and will give them England a boost to the Euro.
"It wasn 't embarrassing at all," he says of the reunion with the City players. “If anything, and it's kind of strange to say, it actually brought us closer together. Sharing a Champions League final, even if they were on the losing side - it's going to be good for us, put us in a good position for this tournament. This can only be positive.
It's easy to wonder if Chilwell feels like a different player and person after the final on penultimate Saturday. Two weeks earlier, he had been heartbroken thinking he'd forced a last blowalisation against his former club, Leicester, in the FA Cup final . This was ruled out by VAR for a delusional offside and how the victorious Leicester fans sang it. But now he's at the top of the European club game.
"That obviously gives you confidence," said Chilwell. "I spoke to Gareth when I first arrived - it was me and Mason in the conversation - and we said if you can win the Champions League you can win the Euro Now. There is still the belief that you can do it, but in order to win the Champions League and move on to the next tournament, you have the real belief that you can also win the Euro. "
Chilwell recounts having experienced a "whirlwind " since the Champions League final, imbued himselfnt from the excitement of the post-game party and then, after "three or days " back to his mother's house, relax and make sense of it all, it was time to join England. . Back at his mother's house, he got to visit his former cricket team, Flitwick, in a match against Ampthill. Chilwell was an outstanding schoolboy cricketer, part of Northants Academy, and he once said he was better at the sport than football. His highest score was an unbeaten 108.
"To come home, walk the dog, watch the local cricket matches. It was nice, ”says Chilwell. "It was good to watch Flitwick. I just went to sit on the side with my dog.
" We didn't really was able to celebrate the Champions League final. The night of the match - all our families were there and the club had a function. The whole family andthe friends who were there were with the rest of the team and staff which was a really special time. But that was really it.
Chilwell was unable to play in any of England 's warm-ups last week - wins 1-0 over Austria and Romania; none of the Chelsea or City players were - and, with just this week's practice sessions ahead of their opener against Croatia on Sunday, it's obvious to describe their preparations as less than they are. 'ideal. Chilwell insists there is no problem.
"The manager was very keen that we have a few days to rest and recover, to refresh our mind, but we are professionals and we enter a European Championship in which the majority of our games are played in our country, ”says Chilwell. “So there's not much to say, really, in terms of motivation when that's what's up for grabs. A final at Wembley, in your home country, potentially with supporters back in the stadium.
"I feel great. Physically, we are all top athletes. But even if you are tired, it goes out the window. The adrenaline will get you through something like this. "
And so to another intriguing internal dynamic - Chilwell's fight for the starting left-back spot with Luke Shaw who, like him, comes to have a great national season.
"There will be a competition for places at each position," said Chilwell. "I have the situation at Chelsea with Marcos [Alonso] I had it with Christian Fuchs in Leicester forabout two years and in both cases it made me a better player. It makes you better and Luke will have the same state of mind, if you ask him to. The training will be very competitive.
"Luke and I get along very well and are delighted. In a weird way, it's quite fun pushing each other and training to improve. Whoever plays that day will do their best and the other player will be a great support.