Leicester City's Ben Chilwell has praised the influence of Gareth Southgate and Claude Puel on his career, as he states his belief that his performances for England during the international break proved that he can compete with the best.
Since his breakthrough season for Leicester last season, playing 24 times in the Premier League, Chilwell's career trajectory has continued to soar. The Foxes left-back earned his first senior England call-up earlier in the campaign, and started both of the most recent Nations League fixtures against Spain and Croatia.
Having played against the likes of Luka Modric, Marco Asensio and Iago Aspas during the international break, Chilwell believes he proved a point with his performances.
"Of course. The three players you mentioned are three of the best players in the world", Chilwell said to the Daily Mail.
"Playing against these sorts of players is trying to test myself. I know I'm good enough against the best in the world, but on that sort of stage you have to show it to everyone else. I felt like I did that against Spain and Croatia."
However, whilst he was pleased with his own personal achievements, Chilwell was impressed with the collective performance of England, adding: "It's important that it was a great performance from the whole team and we fought for each other and everyone did a lot of running for each other. It was superb."
"On the ball, it felt like we were really good and going forward very clinical and lightning on the counter attack, which is nice to see from the front three."
Chilwell reserved special praise for Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling, as he beamed: "Marcus (Rashford) and Raheem (Sterling) who played in front of me both did massive shifts defensively and helped me out a lot which I'm very thankful for.
"And that desire to try and get on the ball and play football, play out the back and be brave on the ball is something that we have tried to work on."
The England fullback, who announced yesterday that he had signed a new contract with Leicester City, feels that the game time he has been receiving at Leicester has been hugely beneficial for his development.
Delighted to sign a new long-term contract with @LCFC. I want to thank the owner, the manager, my teammates, the backroom staff, my family and the fans for their incredible support. I am really excited to continue my journey at this great club. Onwards and upwards. 🔵🦊 pic.twitter.com/bDr2XpRbGj— Ben Chilwell (@BenChilwell) October 20, 2018
He said: "Match time is massive. I feel like as a young player you have to play consistently because you're going to make mistakes. If you make mistakes you have to keep playing to learn from mistakes.
"Last season was a good example of that. I played the majority of the second half of the season, made mistakes, had good games and that's all part of learning as a young defender.
"I'm very critical of myself and I know the levels I want to achieve so I'm very hard on myself. So the staff and players are very hard on me as well, which is what I want as I want to get to as high a level as possible. You have to really stamp out the little mistakes if you want to."
Chilwell believes that he owes much of his success to Leicester's manager, Claude Puel, as well as Three Lions coach Gareth Southgate. He explained: "I'm very thankful to the manager at Leicester and to the staff with England, Gareth especially because he's had faith to play me in both games, which he didn't have to do.
He could have played someone else. For him to show me that faith to play me for two 90 minutes, I just really wanted to repay him."
Claude Puel's management style at Leicester entails frequent tactical alterations which has allowed Chilwell to develop into a more modern styled full back.
"I spoke to Gareth about that and it is not that different to how we're trying to play at Leicester," he explained.
"For me at Leicester he wants the full backs to bomb on as well as defend which is what Gareth wants — so not too different. And I'm enjoying my football at the moment."
Chilwell and Leicester continue their journey this season with a tough away fixture against Arsenal on Monday night. The Gunners have been free-scoring this season, with Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang firing in the goals. Chilwell will have to use his experience against Spain and Croatia to keep the Arsenal forwards quiet and contribute to a positive Leicester result.