Gareth Southgate held a team meeting with his England Players at the start of their first full day together and ordered them to put the World Cup to bed. Because of the tight Premier League schedule, Players jetted straight back to their clubs the morning after England’s agonising exit from Qatar to France on penalties in the quarter-finals.
After the Players met up on Monday, Tuesday was the first time to address them all together. “To be honest, it was more talking about how it was to be there, and then literally we moved onto what the objective is now, which is to win a major trophy,” Chilwell said.
“We have got so close to doing that, but the next step now, which everyone wants, is to win one of these trophies. That’s where we’re at and that’s what we’re focused on.”
It was a chance for Chilwell to reacquaint himself with his team-mates having been forced out of the World Cup with injury. Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink was another new face - the Netherlands international replacing Chris Powell in Southgate’s backroom staff.
And with the trip to Naples to face Italy followed on Sunday with the emotional visit of Ukraine to Wembley, England’s qualifying hopes will be in jeopardy right from the off. “We do have to start well,” Chilwell admitted.
“They are two very difficult games, but also two games that we believe we can win. We have had a brilliant few days of training - everyone is totally dialled in and focused. It’s looking positive because we’re all in a positive headspace and in a good place physically for that game against Italy.
“And it’s really good to have Jimmy with us. He is a vastly experienced player. He has played a lot of games in the Premier League and especially for Chelsea. I’ve seen him a lot at Chelsea games - he is a great guy on and off the pitch and we are very lucky to have him with us.”
The collective spirit is not just on the pitch but off it, too, with England’s families liaising with each other amid security. “I do have friends and family going out there,” he added. “The main thing is making sure that my friends, family and supporters and whoever is going out there feels safe.
“It is important that Italian fans also feel safe. That’s the main thing we have to take from this is that everyone ultimately feels safe.”