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Ben Chilwell, previously only 5ft 8ins, is walking much taller since he won the Champions League. The Chelsea defender was a major part of the Blues’ 1-0 win in Porto over Manchester City and his feet have barely touched the ground since.
But even when they do, he feels he is a bigger player than he was before winning club football’s biggest honour.
“You dream about winning the Champions League as a child, so if you can win that it gives you confidence,” Chilwell said.
“I spoke to Gareth Southgate when I first came in – it was myself and Chelsea team-mate Mason Mount in the conversation – and we said if you can win the Champions League and you go to the Euros, it does give you that extra.
“There’s always the feeling you can do it, but to win the Champions League and go on to the next tournament, you do have that real belief you can go on to win the Euros as well.”
Which is great for Chilwell, Mount and Reece James, but what about Manchester City’s England players – Kyle Walker, John Stones, Raheem Sterling and Phil Foden – who faced the long journey home empty-handed?
“It hasn’t been awkward in the slightest,” Chilwell said. “If anything and it’s quite weird to say it’s actually brought us closer.
“To share a Champions League final, although they were on the losing side, it was still such a massive game in all of our careers.
“It’s going to put us in good stead going into this tournament, playing in a big game like that. It can only be a positive in a tournament like this.
“Of course, we’ve had a few jokes with the City boys! But they have instigated them, so I don’t really want to say too much about that!
“A few things have been said, but all in lighthearted ways.”
Chilwell’s appetite for his recent footballing adventures is infectious but you get a sense why Southgate insisted on some sort of mental break between the two tournaments.
Unwinding for the 24-year-old involved going home to mum for a few days and taking his dog to watch village cricket for the afternoon.
A very different level of competition to the ones in which he is currently embroiled.
“I haven’t played cricket for a while so to get home and go and watch the team that I used to play for, Flitwick, play against Ampthill Town was quite nice,” he said.
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“I just went and sat on the side with my dog and watched.”
Not for a minute, though, is he here in the England camp for a spectating role – even though his contest with Luke Shaw for the left-back slot is one of the keenest in the squad.
“I have said it before with Marcos Alonso and the situation at Chelsea,” Chilwell said. “I have had it with Christian Fuchs at Leicester for two or so years.
“In both cases it made me a better player. When you are fighting for your shirt every day in training, you are fighting to get that shirt.
“It improves you as a player and Luke will have the same mindset if you asked him. We get on very well and are excited – in a weird way it is quite fun pushing each other.”
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