Chilwell unhappy with stigma around mental health as England defender reflects on World Cup injury heartbreak

By Sports Desk March 22, 2023

England full-back Ben Chilwell revealed how tough he found missing last year's World Cup through injury.

A hamstring problem saw Chilwell watching his national team colleagues from home rather than playing alongside them in Qatar last year.

The Chelsea defender argued that there is too much of a stigma around discussing mental health, in men's football especially.

Chilwell, who disclosed he has been "talking to someone" to benefit his mental well-being, is now back in the England squad as the Three Lions hope for a strong start to their Euro 2024 qualification campaign.

Reflecting on his injury, Chilwell said: "Of course mentally it was very challenging.

"I've been talking to someone for a few years now.

"I think the stigma around it is silly really, especially with men and men in football in particular.

"The way it has helped me, it can definitely help everyone. The stigma around it is something that needs to go.

"All footballers go through periods of their career where things are mentally challenging.

"You have got to be resilient, be strong and try to come through it. That is the way I have tried to look at injuries I have had, spin them into positive situations where I can better myself mentally and physically."

Chilwell's Chelsea team-mate Reece James also missed the World Cup through injury.

For Chilwell, that was something of a blessing in disguise.

He added: "In a weird way it was nice we had each other during that time because it was someone you could share the pain of missing a World Cup with.

"We helped each other a lot through that experience."

The pair returned to Gareth Southgate's latest squad for matches against Italy and Ukraine, and after England went winless in their last Nations League campaign, Chilwell insists qualification is not being taken for granted.

"We're confident that we will qualify and with the talent we have in the squad we're going to do everything to do that," he said.

"But we know we have to work hard to do that. I don't think that sort of mentality really needs to be told.

"The senior players don't need to be telling the younger players that we need to qualify."

England face Italy in Naples at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona on Thursday before hosting Ukraine three days later.

Related items

  • Teams and fixtures confirmed for Super 8 stage at ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 Teams and fixtures confirmed for Super 8 stage at ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024

    The groups and fixtures for the Super 8 stage of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 has been confirmed with both co-hosts West Indies and USA making it through to the second stage that will see the eight teams battle for a place in the semi-finals at the biggest cricket carnival spectacle ever.

    Super 8 qualifiers are:

    • Group A: India and USA
    • Group B: Australia and England
    • Group C: West Indies and Afghanistan
    • Group D: South Africa and Bangladesh

    The eight teams will be divided into two groups:

    • Group A: India, Australia, Afghanistan, Bangladesh
    • Group B: USA, England, West Indies, South Africa

    Four of the Super 8 qualifiers have won the World Cup previously, India, England, West Indies and Australia. Super 8 matches will be played across four West Indies venues: Antigua and Barbuda (four matches), Barbados (three matches), Saint Lucia (three matches) and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (two matches).

    Each team will play every other team in its group once, with the top two sides in each group qualifying for the semi-finals, to be played in Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana on 26 and 27 June, respectively.

    The Super Eight stage commences in Antigua on Wednesday 19 June with a clash between USA and South Africa at 10h30. That same evening West Indies take on old rivals, England in Saint Lucia. The two sides have a prolific cricketing history, with the co-hosts ensuring a dominant display at home against England in recent years.

    Full Fixtures (Local time)

    19 June

    USA v South Africa, Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, Antigua (10h30)

    England v West Indies, Daren Sammy Cricket Ground, St Lucia (20h30)

    20 June

    Afghanistan v India, Kensington Oval, Barbados (10h30)

    Australia v Bangladesh, Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, Antigua (20h30)

    21 June

    England v South Africa, Daren Sammy Cricket Ground, St Lucia (10h30)

    USA v West Indies, Kensington Oval, Barbados (20h30)

    22 June

    India v Bangladesh, Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, Antigua (10h30)

    Afghanistan v Australia, Arnos Vale, St Vincent (20h30)

    23 June

    USA v England, Kensington Oval, Barbados (10h30)

    West Indies v South Africa, Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, Antigua (20h30)

    24 June

    Australia v India, Daren Sammy Cricket Ground, St Lucia (10h30)

    Afghanistan v Bangladesh, Arnos Vale, St Vincent (20h30)

     

  • Martinez dreaming big at Euro 2024 as Portugal boss defends Ronaldo inclusion Martinez dreaming big at Euro 2024 as Portugal boss defends Ronaldo inclusion

    Roberto Martinez is daring to dream as Portugal prepare to open their Euro 2024 campaign, where ageing star Cristiano Ronaldo has been selected "on merit".

    Portugal are the favourites to top Group F in Germany, opening their tournament against Czechia on Tuesday before facing Turkiye and Georgia.

    Martinez's side were the only team to win 100 per cent of their games in the qualifying campaign (10/10), while they also scored more goals than any other team (36).

    The former Belgium manager has major-tournament pedigree, too, guiding the Red Devils to third place at the 2018 World Cup and quarter-finals at Euro 2020.

    Going further on this occasion remains at the forefront of the Spaniard's mind.

    "We must believe, we need to dream big," the Portugal head coach said at Monday's pre-match press conference.

    "If we don't dream big, then it will be tough. But we also owe it to everyone to play well.

    "Tomorrow will be the right time to show that we're ready, that we can meet all the expectations. 

    "I brought seven shirts, not three. But now we need to put it all out there on the pitch for these first three matches."

    Portugal have the likes of Joao Felix, Diogo Jota and Goncalo Ramos to call upon in attack, though a familiar face remains in Ronaldo.

    The five-time Ballon d'Or winner holds the record for most games (25), most goals (14), joint-most assists on record (six – since 1972) and most editions with at least one goal (five) at the Euros.

    Indeed, since 1972, Ronaldo has scored/assisted twice as many goals as any other player at this tournament: 20 in total (14 goals, six assists). Michel Platini is second on 10 (nine goals, one assist).

    Ronaldo is also the European player with the most appearances at major tournaments, World Cup and Euros combined (47), therefore his inclusion is hardly a surprise.

     

    "Cristiano is in the national team on merit," Martinez added. "Nobody gets into the national team just by having a name.

    "Cristiano scored 51 goals in 50 games [for Al-Nassr last season].

    "For us he is a goalscorer, someone who can make that final move, someone who can really stretch defenders, really open spaces.

    "Obviously, over the years Cristiano has changed his way of playing slightly, but I can only say that Cristiano is in the national team on merit and the numbers are there to back that up."

    Ruben Dias says Ronaldo's influence spans further than his influence on the pitch, however.

    "I would say he represents inspiration, he represents that everything is possible, he represents that you can dream and you can achieve it," the Manchester City defender said.

    "It's obviously a pleasure to have him with us in this moment of his career. He represents to us that he really wants to win again and he's our captain and obviously we follow him to the end."

  • Belgium 0-1 Slovakia: VAR twice frustrates Lukaku as Red Devils suffer shock defeat Belgium 0-1 Slovakia: VAR twice frustrates Lukaku as Red Devils suffer shock defeat

    Romelu Lukaku saw two goals disallowed and Belgium squandered a glut of golden opportunities as Slovakia claimed a surprise 1-0 win in Euro 2024 Group E.

    Lukaku twice thought he had restored parity in the second half, only for both goals to be ruled out after VAR checks.

    Slovakia led from the seventh minute, with Ivan Schranz having thumped the underdogs into the lead with what was his nation's fastest goal at a major tournament, finishing calmly from a tight angle after Jeremy Doku's error had put Belgium in trouble.

    That opener came after Belgium had missed two brilliant chances, with Lukaku not managing to beat Martin Dubravka from close range before Leandro Trossard failed to find the striker in acres of space in the area.

    The trend continued after the restart – Lukaku seemed to have levelled when he tapped home from Amadou Onana's knockdown, only for a VAR check to deem he had strayed offside.

    Johan Bakayoko had an effort cleared off the line before Lukaku drilled in from Lois Openda's cutback late on, only for the latter to be penalised harshly for handball as the world's third-best side suffered a shock defeat.

    Data Debrief: Red Devils run out of Luk

    Lukaku missed a glut of chances in the quarter-finals against Spain at Euro 2020, and he was guilty of spurning some fantastic chances, though he was also incredibly unfortunate to see those two goals ruled out.

    Belgium mustered 1.9 expected goals, with Lukaku responsible for 0.8 of that, but the Red Devils' luck was out. They sit third in Group E, with Slovakia joining Romania on three points after causing the first big upset of Euro 2024.

    It is the first time Belgium have lost since 27 November 2022, against Morocco in the group stage of the World Cup, marking an end to their second-longest unbeaten run ever of 15 matches (W10 D5).

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.