Pundit Accuses £50M Chelsea Star As Being “Nowhere Near The Player He Was” Following Struggles Under Pochettino

Chelsea vice-captain Ben Chilwell has been criticised by ESPN pundit Robbie Earle for his lack of commitment.

The fullback struggled badly in the 4-1 defeat to Liverpool. He was substituted at half-time during that game and, while he was restored to the starting eleven for the loss to Wolves, he was still rather poor. Speaking about the defender’s recent performances, Earle said:

“The defence, if you had to pick your best back four, I’m not sure you’d know. Chilwell’s nowhere near the player he was when he started the season. I know he’s had an injury. Doesn’t look as committed.”

It’s right to be critical of Chilwell (who cost £50m when he signed from Leicester in 2020) but it’s a bit harsh to question his commitment as there are extenuating circumstances.

He’s been asked to play a lot of football following a serious injury

As Earle mentions, the defender has only recently returned from a lengthy layoff. He spent over three and a half months sidelined with a hamstring problem.

For that reason, it was always going to be difficult for him to get back to his best straight away. He did impress on his comeback against Middlesbrough in the Carabao Cup but he has found things more of a challenge in subsequent fixtures. It may be a while before we see the best of him.

Pochettino has little option but to continue picking Chilwell

The left-back really struggled against Wolves’ Pedro Neto on Sunday. The Portuguese winger is a difficult player to handle anyway and, combined with Chilwell’s form issues, it meant that the Chelsea fullback had a very tough afternoon.

With Marc Cucurella out injured until the beginning of March, and Levi Colwill also unavailable, it looks as though manager Mauricio Pochettino will have to keep selecting Chilwell for the time being. The Blues take on Aston Villa in the FA Cup fourth-round replay on Wednesday night.

David Tully

David Tully

David has worked as a football reporter for the last fifteen years. Having started as an intern at Snack Media, he then went on to become a freelancer, working on various different sites. At the start of 2023, he took up his current role as content writer for National World's Football News Network.