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Starstruck Ben Chilwell admits he was a bag of nerves when he first signed for Chelsea – because he got to meet his hero Ashley Cole.
And the 23-year-old admits it was all he could do not to ask for an autograph when he was invited to former Blues and England great Cole’s house.
Chilwell idolised Cole growing up and the first thing he wanted to do on signing for Chelsea in a £45m transfer from Leicester was meet the man.
He said: “No autograph. I’m playing at Chelsea now. I can’t really ask him for an autograph! But I was starstruck to meet someone I have idolised for so long.
“Yeah, it was a mixture of nerves and excitement. I’ve just joined a new club where I can, hopefully, do really well.
“To meet someone who has been in that position, joining a new club, Chelsea, at a young age also and gone on to have a fantastic career here.
“It was more excitement to see what helped him have a great career here. It was nice to meet someone you’ve watched and idolised for so long.”
Ambitious Chilwell wants to follow in Cole’s footsteps and become a Chelsea great.
And he revealed earlier this week that the biggest piece of advice England’s most-capped full back gave him was to go out and “die for the shirt”.
Cole won eight major honours after quitting Arsenal for Chelsea and Chilwell claims he inspired a generation – by making full backs sexy!
He said: “Players like Ashley Cole started the trend of attacking full-backs, who want to get forward and are not all about just defending.
“Getting forward, creating chances, getting assists and scoring goals. It’s a very attractive position now for the younger player to want to play.
“When I was 12, when I first started playing left-back, it had just started to become a much attractive position. I was very excited by the possibilities.”
Chilwell, who joined Chelsea with a foot injury, should make his Premier League debut for them tomorrow against Crystal Palace.
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And after missing out on Leicester’s miraculous title win because he had not yet made the first team, he is on the hunt for trophies.
Chilwell said: “I am 23 now and I want to start winning stuff. It’s definitely a reason why I wanted to come here. It’s a massive club and winning stuff should be the aim.”
But Chilwell admits it was tough to leave the Foxes – especially after long-time pal James Maddison posted an emotional Instagram video of the pair enjoying themselves together with the words “Go well, my brother” attached.
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Chilwell said: “I did feel emotional. It was actually quite funny because I probably got more messages from that video that I did from the actual move itself.
“It went down quite well though I had a few people messaging me having a little joke that it was like I had passed away! It seemed like that sort of video.
“But, no, it was difficult to leave. Me and James still keep in contact. We talk most days. There is no-one happier that I moved.”
- Chelsea FC
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