BERTRAND: LOOKING BACK, LOOKING FORWARD

As the team prepare to return to action at Loftus Road, Ryan Bertrand with two league starts and new contract to his name this season, speaks to the official Chelsea website…

Following one of the most dramatic and celebrated summers in British sporting history, many have risen to fame or cemented it further. One of our own who played his part in Britain’s golden summer was Ryan Bertrand, starting three times for the Team GB football squad before their quarter-final elimination against South Korea.

An Olympic showing for Bertrand was just one highlight of what has been an incredible few months for the 23-year-old. Since starting in his first Champions League game in the final in Munich, and winning it, Bertrand has also scored his first Chelsea goal, made the step up to full international level and signed a new five-year contract at the club.

‘It’s been a lot!’ Bertrand tells the official Chelsea website. ‘It’s slowly, slowly settling in though. It’s been a crazy few months but I’m looking forward to getting more games under my belt.’

The Olympics certainly aided Bertrand’s development according to the young left-back, and he was full of praise for the whole event where London excelled under the spotlight of the watching world.

‘It was fantastic to be part of such a special occasion. It doesn’t happen very often, especially with regards to the football team. We wanted to contribute to add to everyone else’s success around us and though it didn’t work out that way, we did our best’, he explains.

The Team GB squad consisted of Welsh and English players ranging from the ages of 19 to 38. This mix of experience and youth only served to add to the occasion in the eyes of the London-born defender.

‘A lot of us had played together so it was quite easy to gel. There were a couple of experienced heads like Craig Bellamy and Ryan Giggs who were great role models for us and gave us a chance to learn off them.’

Barely days after the curtain was drawn on London’s Olympics Bertrand was called up to the full England squad for the very first time for the friendly against Italy in Berne. He replaced Leighton Baines moments before Jermain Defoe scored the winning goal to seal a 2-1 victory. After so many appearances for England’s younger teams, how did this compare?

He acknowledges it was a moment he had been waiting for having come through the youth systems for England from Under-17s all the way through to the Under-21s. The next step was always to edge towards the senior team and now the hope is that he can just keep it going.

He built on that cameo against Italy within a month, making his competitive debut on Tuesday at Wembley against Ukraine, again as a substitute. It was his cross that led to the penalty which teammate Frank Lampard successfully converted. Although the team didn’t win Bertrand is clearly delighted with the role he played on his Wembley bow.

Bertrand

‘To come on in a World Cup qualifier and manage to have the impact that I did, with the cross that I put in leading to the penalty, was a bonus. First it’s good to get on the pitch and then to have an impact on the game was fantastic.’

Life has been going pretty well for Bertrand in the blue of Chelsea, too. After a strong finish to last season, culminating in that night in Munich, he has started two of our opening three league games this campaign, impressing in the victories over Wigan and Newcastle. He scored his first goal (pictured below) in the Community Shield defeat to Manchester City, but wasn’t able to celebrate it in quite the way he had hoped, with the goal proving a mere consolation in the 3-2 defeat.

‘If it had come in other circumstances, if we had taken the lead or it was another goal, I would have been able to celebrate it properly – hopefully it won’t be too long a wait for the next one.

‘The manager, along with Steve Holland and Eddie Newton, have put massive faith in me,’ he stress. ‘They’ve been fantastic to me, believed in me, given me my chance – and I feel my performances have rewarded them as well.’

Bertrand

For somebody who has achieved so much in such a short space of time Bertrand is still keen to keep looking forward, and earlier this month signed a new five-year contract with the club. His hopes for those five years are simple – to win more trophies, increase his playing time year by year and keep progressing as a footballer.

With a succession of excellent performances convincing the club to offer Bertrand a new deal, it comes as no surprise to see him featuring more and more regularly. He does, however, remain behind one of the world’s greatest left backs in the pecking order at Chelsea in Ashley Cole. The venerable defender remains a source of inspiration on a daily basis.

‘Ash has won everything there is to win, he’s won the FA Cup more times than anyone else and he still has the same attitude towards his football every day in training,’ notes Bertrand. ‘The way he approaches games is full-on 100%, and that’s the one thing I always take from Ashley: to have the right attitude and approach games in the right way.’

It was Cole who started in our last game in Monaco. Bertrand, who featured as a very late substitute with the damage already done, says the squad is keen to put that result behind them.

‘I think it was just a one-off. We’re not looking into it too deeply. We’re really disappointed that we couldn’t top it off [the Champions League success] and go and win that cup as well, but it’s important we just focus on the league now. We’ve been fantastic in that, with three wins out of three, so we just need to forget that bad result.’

Saturday’s derby against QPR represents a chance to return to winning ways and keep the run going, and if Bertrand does feature he may well face directly a very recent former teammate in Jose Bosingwa.

‘Getting the chance to play against him will be strange with him on the other side. He’s one of their players now so we want to get the better of him!’

Ryan Bertrand is on course to get the better of many more while his career path remains so upwardly mobile. Despite having achieved an abundance of landmarks in the past few months he has his sights set on celebrating further success in the future for both club and country, and if the recent past is anything to go by it will take a very brave man to bet against that happening.

PRE-MATCH BRIEFING: QUEENS PARK RANGERS V CHELSEA

14.09.2012

PRE-MATCH BRIEFING: QUEENS PARK RANGERS V CHELSEA

The wait for the fourth league game of the season is nearly over…

14.09.2012

PRESS CONFERENCE LIVE THIS AFTERNOON

Chelseafc.com is offering fans the facility to watch Roberto Di Matteo’s pre-match press conference live on your PC…

14.09.2012

UNDER-21S: VITAL EXPERIENCES

Our Under-21s will be looking to build on an impressive 5-0 victory against Wolverhampton Wanderers when we welcome Liverpool to Griffin Park…

14.09.2012

MATCHDAY TRAVEL NEWS

Supporters heading to Loftus Road for our game against QPR on Saturday may find the following information useful…

13.09.2012

CHELSEA TV HEADLINES: DUO BACK INVOLVED

Chelsea TV reports from Cobham where our two previously injured England defenders trained ahead of the weekend’s game against Queens Park Rangers. The bulletin can be viewed here …

13.09.2012

GILES SMITH’S THURSDAY THOUGHTS

He counted them all out and he counted them all back. Chelsea fan and columnist Giles Smith was holding his breath while their nations took our players away, as well as pondering an Olympic Stadium

13.09.2012

THE RIGHT RIVALRY

This Saturday is Chelsea’s first local derby of the season as we take on our west London neighbours Queens Park Rangers…

13.09.2012

LATEST ARSENAL TICKET DETAILS ANNOUNCED

The latest ticket selling arrangements for our Barclays Premier League game away at Arsenal on Saturday 29 September have now been announced…

13.09.2012

WOMEN’S WEEKLY

Successive defeats, albeit against strong opposition, have ensured Emma Hayes’ reign has got off to a difficult start…

13.09.2012

CYSTIC FIBROSIS TRUST WINS FIRST ONLINE CHARITY POLL

The Cystic Fibrosis Trust has won the opportunity to hold a bucket collection at Stamford Bridge following our ground-breaking Online Charity Poll.

13.09.2012

JAPANESE JOINS OUR LOCAL LANGUAGE LIST

Chelsea Football Club is delighted to announce the launch of our new official Japanese language website…

12.09.2012

CHELSEA TV EXCLUSIVE: MEIRELES SAYS FAREWELL AND THANKS

On Wednesday afternoon Raul Meireles visited Cobham for the final time before he begins to play for his new club Fenerbahçe. Chelsea TV spoke to the Portuguese midfielder before he left…

12.09.2012

CHELSEA TV HEADLINES: RETURNING TO NORMAL

The lunchtime Blues News bulletin, which can be viewed here, is anticipating the return of the bulk of the squad following games across the globe…

12.09.2012

BACK TO 70S AND 80S FOR NEW LEGENDS CHOICE

Another two Blues have been inducted into the Legends section of this website, the choice of fans who have been selecting names to add over the past few years…

12.09.2012

TRAINING CHANCES

Assistant first team coach Steve Holland discusses Cobham with the internationals away…

12.09.2012

CHELSEA TV’s NEW SATURDAY SOLUTION

Presenter Jason Cundy can’t wait for the game at QPR, and a new way to follow the action…

12.09.2012

LATEST ARSENAL TICKET DETAILS ANNOUNCED

The latest ticket selling arrangements for our Barclays Premier League game away at Arsenal on Saturday 29 September have now been announced…

12.09.2012

WOLVES TICKETS NOW ON GENERAL SALE

Having won both the FA Cup and Champions League last season, the Blues begin our quest to lift the Capital One Cup on 25 September…

11.09.2012

INTERNATIONALS: LAMPARD SPOT ON

Frank Lampard scored his third international goal in five days to rescue a home point for England and Branislav Ivanovic continued his prolific start to the season…

11.09.2012

TROPHIES RELOCATING

Having been available for photo opportunities in the Stamford Gate store at Stamford Bridge, the FA Cup and Champions League trophies will return to the Chelsea Museum from Monday 17 September…

11.09.2012

CHELSEA HANDED EUROPEAN CLUB ACCOLADE

Chelsea Football Club has been named European Club of the Year 2012 by the organisation representing the leading clubs across the continent…

11.09.2012

PAT NEVIN: GROUP TASK

This time next week the Italians will be arriving to herald the start of a 10th consecutive Champions League season at Chelsea…

CHELSEA TV HEADLINES: DUO BACK INVOLVED

Chelsea TV reports from Cobham where our two previously injured England defenders trained ahead of the weekend’s game against Queens Park Rangers. The bulletin can be viewed here.

Don’t miss Blues News tonight at 6.30pm for all the latest developments, as well as the thoughts of midfielder John Mikel Obi.

CHELSEA TV HEADLINES: KEY DUO BACK INVOLVED

Chelsea TV report from Cobham, as two of our defenders make a welcome return to training ahead of the weekend’s game against Queens Park Rangers.

Don’t miss Blues News tonight at 6.30pm for all the latest developments, as well as the thoughts of midfielder John Mikel Obi.

UNDER-21S: VITAL EXPERIENCES

Our Under-21s will be looking to build on an impressive 5-0 victory against Wolverhampton Wanderers when we welcome Liverpool to Griffin Park on Friday night, a game which can be seen live on Chelsea TV, and manager Dermot Drummy believes we will need to be at the top of our game in order to secure back-to-back wins.

Having opened the new campaign with a goalless draw against Manchester City, the match against Wolves was a good chance to get a first win under our belt, and after Lucas Pinzon had given us a first-half lead, we turned in an accomplished, ruthless display which the visitors simply couldn’t live with.

‘The whole occasion pleased me,’ Drummy tells the official Chelsea website. ‘Playing at the Bridge with the fans there, the players enjoyed it, you could see that, and the staff enjoyed being there as well.

‘To put in a performance like that against a good side was really pleasing. I saw Wolves draw against Liverpool, and we really had to perform well to get that result. To get young players such as Jeremie Boga and Fankaty Dabo on was a bonus as well.

‘We’re keeping clean sheets, which is obviously a good thing, and Jamal Blackman’s performing well, so it’s been a good start so far.’

This season, the young players have the opportunity to play in front of larger sized crowds than they had previously been accustomed to.

Over 3,000 supporters were present for the game against Manchester City, while there was another good turnout for the Wolves game at Stamford Bridge, something which makes the whole concept mutually beneficial, both for the players and supporters, as the manager explains.

‘It just gives them experience which they normally wouldn’t get,’ he says. ‘The best hope these players have at the moment is performing in the Capital One Cup.

‘Lucas Piazon is playing very well and training with the first team on a regular basis, but any time we can play at Stamford Bridge is massive, and it also gives the fans the chance to come along to the ground and see some of our younger players in action.’

Four points from our opening couple of fixtures is a decent return, but Liverpool are expected to provide a sterner test of our credentials than Wolves were able to a couple of weeks ago.

Under the stewardship of Rodolfo Borrell, a former Barcelona coach, the Merseysiders play an attacking brand of football, and Drummy, having watched them in action only a few weeks ago, is aware of the threat they will pose.

‘I went to watch them when they played Crystal Palace with Ed Brand, a young coach who’s working with us,’ he says.

‘They’re a good side; we were well beaten there last season. They play 4-3-3, which is similar to us, they have very good players and are an attack-minded side, so I think it will be a fantastic game.

‘Their coach is very well-respected, they play good football and work really hard so it will be a very tough match.’

The new-look league, in terms of results, has started in a positive manner for the Blues, but it’s not just on a match day where the attitude of the players has given their manager reason to be optimistic.

‘I can only say at the moment that the whole feel of the league is so different to last year,’ says Drummy. ‘I don’t think we’ve had a flat training session yet, which means the boys are up for it every day. They’re looking at the fixtures and they want to play in these games.

‘The link with the first team is fantastic. They know Steve Holland is coming to watch, Robbie [Di Matteo] was watching the friendly against Charlton last week, so there’s a feel-good factor around at the moment.’

Chelsea Under-21s v Liverpool is live and exclusive on Chelsea TV from 7pm on Friday 14 September.

Supporters wishing to attend the game can purchase tickets on the night from Griffin Park, priced at £3 for adults and £1 for juniors and seniors.