Nathaniel Chalobah is one of 14 players who now have 90 minutes of pre-season game time under their belts.
A few have more, some have fewer, but one half of action in the match in Bangkok and one half last night (Sunday) in Kuala Lumpur has been the experience of the majority. It was a late kick-off against the Malaysia XI – 9.45pm local time – but both the conditions and the opposition provided a good examination of the fitness and technical work that has gone in on the training pitches. Following the 1-0 win in Thailand, the result improved to a 4-1 win in this latest game.
Chalobah played the first match alongside Gary Cahill as the team kept a clean sheet. The score was 3-0 in the second game when John Terry and he were replaced at the interval, and although an improved team performance led to a better result, the Blues had more defensive work to do too.
‘The first game was a different kind of game for me, coming on in the second half and the team already being a goal up,’ the 18-year-old said after the match.
‘The team that we were playing against in Bangkok continued to sit off us, and we had a lot of the ball, trying to keep possession.
‘But Sunday I started the game and the team needed to get a couple of goals and we did that, and we had a bit more pressure from the other team so that made it a bit more tough. Also it was 10 o’clock and it was still very hot and humid, but that was better than a game at 4 o’clock.’
Having played in midfield for Watford when he spent last season on loan at the Championship club, Chalobah has so far been used as a central defender by Jose Mourinho. Switching between the two positions is something the player has been accustomed too throughout his development in the young teams at Chelsea, occasionally playing both roles in the course of one match.
‘When you are playing in holding midfield you are used to doing a lot going forward, but now I have to be a lot more aware defensively and playing different positions will probably help me in the future,’ he says.
‘The manager now wants us to get used to certain ways of playing and get it implemented in our game now in preparation for the start of the season.’