Chelsea’s Trevoh Chalobah on ‘incredible journey’ from Sunday’s league to Champions League | UEFA Champions League
Defender Trevoh Chalobah followed in the footsteps of his brother Nathaniel as he made the transition from casual football in his London borough of Gipsy Hill to the Chelsea first team.
The Sierra Leone-born brothers played Sunday league football until Nathaniel was picked up by west London side Fulham. Chelsea quickly signed Nathaniel after facing their neighbours, and Trevoh upped his game by looking to follow his older brother’s example.
“When I saw that, I just started to step it up a little more,” the 22-year-old said in an interview for FedEx’s Next in Line. “A few weeks later, Chelsea came to pick me up.”
Joining the Blues’ youth ranks proved to be a huge step up for Trevoh. Playing in the same teams as future England stars Mason Mount and Declan Rice, he admits he sometimes doubted his own abilities.
“I remember I used to be in the car with my scout because he would take me to practice and home. I would start crying in the back of the car saying: ‘I’m not good enough, it’s too hard for me.'”
However, a breakthrough was made when the club spotted untapped potential in Chalobah. “One of our coaches said, ‘I’ll try you behind’,” he recalled. “I started doing well there! And then I started believing in myself more. I had height, I had strength. I improved my speed. From U16, that’s where I started to ramp up.”
Chalobah honed his skills during loan spells with Ipswich, Huddersfield and French club Lorient, making his Chelsea debut in the 2021 UEFA Super Cup, where the Blues beat Villarreal on penalties after one game 1-1 draw in Belfast.
“I remember the meeting two hours before the match and I saw that I was in the starting XI,” he said. “I was shocked but at the same time happy and nervous. It would be my first UEFA final for the club. I was so fired up for the game. You want to impress and you want a chance to get a trophy We ended up doing that and it was just a great way to start the season.”
Chalobah’s horizons were further expanded in November 2021 when he made his UEFA Champions League debut. He rose to the occasion, opening the scoring and being named player of the match in a 4-0 win over Juventus.
The challenge now is to maintain momentum, with Chalobah pushing herself in the gym to improve her performance.
“I always work on my speed,” he says. “After every game, when we train, it will be on the screen: the maximum speed that we reach, the work rate, the speeds, the decelerations, everything. My maximum would probably be 34 km/h. That’s pretty quick, to be fair, but I think the highest is Timo Werner. I think he’s got 36 or 37. ‘Timo Turbo’: that’s what we call him.”
Chalobah is determined to maintain the pace of his own career. “It’s not all going to be in a straight line. There’s going to be a lot of ups and downs and you have to be ready to go through that and come out the other side of it.
“When I started playing football, I wanted to be a legend, wherever I was; to be that person who inspired young children, who led a good path, and obviously that is remembered. To represent a Sunday league team, then one of the biggest clubs in the world, yes, it’s an incredible journey.”
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