TREVOH Chalobah has come of age and appears to have cemented his place in Chelsea’s first team squad.
The utility player has broken through aged 22, and finally seems to have forced his way into Thomas Tuchel’s plans following a man-of-the-match display against Villarreal in the Super Cup shootout win, as well as scoring on his Premier League debut against Crystal Palace.
The German tactician admitted as much himself, with the ex-England U21 international starring during preseason.
“He played well against Bournemouth, Arsenal and Tottenham,” Tuchel said after the game.
“We wanted guys on the field who could play 90 mins. He was one of the first in training, physically strong and deserved to play.
“It’s quite impressive. He forced his way into our thinking.
“Let’s see how it goes, he forced his way into our thinking. We still have some days to decide [his future].”
It’s a future that did look like being away from Stamford Bridge, with suggestions he was about to be sent on loan… again.
Chalobah has already endured long campaigns with Ipswich Town, Huddersfield Town and French club Lorient.
The trendy footballer also starred in a fashion campaign for Italian leather goods company Valore London, before his sensational rise.
Titled ‘Future British Icons’, the photoshoot featured their Blazon monogram collection and showed Trevoh to be a trendsetter.
He and his older footballing brother Nathaniel, now 26, are both graduates of Chelsea’s famed academy, with the elder sibling now plying his trade at Watford.
The Chalobah story began in Africa.
SIERRA LEONE TO SOUTH LONDON
Trevoh was born in Sierra Leone in 1999.
His family moved to Lambeth, South London when he was six and he soon discovered the beautiful game on his estate, where he and his brother played their football in a cage pitch.
“Moving here when I was 6 years old, I remember some parts of those initial days but my first real memory is seeing the cage,” he told Gaffer magazine.
“The park as well, where we used to go and play every day. We met a lot of friends there, a whole host of people who used to love football.
“We had community centres too and they were a big part of our childhood.”
At eight, Trevoh joined his brother Nathaniel at Cobham and worked his way up the ranks, before signing a pro contract in 2018.
Primarily playing at right or centre-back, he won the Uefa Youth League and FA Youth Cup alongside Mason Mount as a teenager.
He has also starred at every level for England from Under-16 to U21 level, and was part of the U19 team that won the European Championships in 2017.
However, with chances limited at Stamford Bridge it was imperative that Trevoh left West London to get game-time elsewhere.
For the 2018-19 season, he was loaned out to then-Championship side Ipswich Town.
He played 44 times for the Tractor Boys, but despite impressing was unable to save the club from relegation.
The following season, it was in West Yorkshire where Trevoh had his next experience of Championship football with Huddersfield Town.
It was there he caught the eye of boss Danny Cowley.
“Trevoh Chalobah will be a top player,” he said.
He added: “He’s a really good learner and is always looking to add to his game.”
A BRIT ABROAD
Last season, Chalobah continued his football education overseas with Lorient in Ligue 1 – with a need to test himself at a higher level.
He appeared to bulk up with extra weight sessions in the gym, which he proudly shows off on Instagram.
On the final day of the season, Trevoh wrote his name in Lorient’s record books when his goal against Strasbourg earned the club a 1-1 draw, but more importantly saved them from relegation.
He also had a ‘pinch me’ moment earlier in the season when he came up against the superstars of PSG – who Lorient record a famous 3-2 win over.
“Being on the same pitch as Angel Di Maria, Neymar, Kylian Mbappe – I’d been watching this team play in the Champions League. To beat them was unbelievable,” Chalobah said.
“Neymar was playing as a No 10.
“I had to mark him a lot. Even when I tackled him, it was like: ‘Wow, I tackled Neymar.’”
HAVE A WORD
When Chalobah was just 17, he was visited in the England youth training camp by ex-Blues star Daniel Sturridge, who gave a talk to the youngsters.
The forward was quick to pass on his experience and advice. It was a message that has stuck for the model pro.
“Daniel was with the senior England squad but he sat us all down and told us our main aim should be football,” Chalobah told The Athletic.
“He told us how important sleep is. Instead of going out to parties and things, have the strength to say no. Football has to come first at this time. That’s how he is, he wanted to help us not go down the route some other players.
“I’ve always kept that in my head, from Chelsea, to my loans at Ipswich and Huddersfield. There are temptations to go out, but you have to have the power to step away.
“You need to rest for training and to get ready for the game. We are all human beings, sometimes you need to relax but you have to pick the right time. I like going out for meals. I’ve been out clubbing a few times, the cinema, but only at the right moment.”
THE FUTURE IS UNWRITTEN
After his star show against Villarreal and strike against Palace, Chalobah may have just changed his footballing future.
It looked like he was headed for a fourth consecutive loan, with competition for places fierce.
Toni Rudiger, Thiago Silva, Andreas Christensen, Kurt Zouma would all definitely be ahead of him in the pecking order.
Right-backs Cesar Azpilicueta and Reece James both played in the back three last season and may well be trusted more if it comes to it.
While, France international defender Jules Kounde is said to be next on Tuchel’s shopping list in s blockbuster £70million deal.
Whatever the future holds, Chalobah has a lot to offer.
For Tuchel, trying to fit him into his squad will be a headache he will be happy to have.