Ben Chilwell has made every bit as much of an impression on Chelsea as new skipper Thiago Silva.
That’s the view of former Blues left-back Scott Minto, whose old side take on another of his ex-clubs, West Ham, tomorrow.
Chilwell and Silva arrived at Stamford Bridge in the summer, the England star joining from Leicester in a £45million switch.
He hasn’t been heralded in quite the same way as the Brazil skipper but, according to Minto, his all-round contribution to the team has been just as important.
Minto said: “Ben Chilwell has come in and made as big an impact as Thiago Silva.
“Don’t get me wrong, the spine of any side is absolutely crucial and you put the wide players in to add that extra.
“Games aren’t necessarily won by the spine of a side but they are dominated by it, whether that’s a Pep Guardiola domination with the ball or a Jose Mourinho domination without the ball, they control the game.
“But for someone like Chilwell to come in and hit the ground running is exactly what Chelsea needed.
“He has a great left foot, puts a great cross in and has a great engine as well.
“And where he has really added to Chelsea is in the defensive side of things.
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“Marcos Alonso is a good player who has outperformed in a Chelsea shirt.
“But in the last year or so his lack of defensive capabilities were absolutely shown. He’s a wing-back, not a full-back.
“With Chilwell, if there’s a one-on-one he can look after the winger, and when you have a full-back who can look after the job defensively but can also really do what they need to do going forward, you’re happy.
“If you want to overload the midfield and therefore have possession of the ball, you need a full-back who can do the job of a full-back and a winger at the same time.”
The relationship and understanding Chilwell and Timo Werner have already developed has been impressive.
Minto added: “When you have a player like Werner, who comes in, he leaves a gap.
“And when he does that you need a full-back who can fill that gap, whether it’s in attack or defensively.
“That goes a little unnoticed, that not only does Chilwell do well when he’s with the ball but he allows Werner to come inside and bounce off Tammy Abraham, and between Werner and Abraham they have done really well.
“Most of that is down to those two but some of it is also down to Chilwell.
“He gives Werner the license to go inside and not just stay as a typical wide player.”