Gareth Southgate comments about Chelsea star point to big Mauricio Pochettino transition
Coming into the season, many would have predicted we would see Levi Colwill alongside Thiago Silva in the heart of the Chelsea defensive line. Many were unsure about what sort of role Axel Disasi would be handed following his move from AS Monaco in the summer transfer window.
Signed after Wesley Fofana was ruled out for the majority of the season with an anterior cruciate ligament injury, some may have believed he was signed to be a backup and a rotational option for the 39-year-old Silva. However, Disasi has played every single minute for Chelsea in the Premier League this season – the only outfield Blues player to do so.
Disasi started in a mixed fashion, with a dream debut against Liverpool where he scored the hosts’ only goal of the game in the 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge. There were, however, some slightly dodgy moments to follow from the Frenchman but in recent games, he has excelled once again.
The 25-year-old’s form has somewhat restricted the path for Colwill since returning to Chelsea. The 20-year-old defender has been a key component for Mauricio Pochettino thus far this season but he has been playing predominantly as a left-back rather than a centre-back – the position he flourished in for Brighton on loan last season.
Many Chelsea fans have been calling for Colwill to move into the centre alongside a right-sided centre-back but Pochettino seems to fancy the England international on the left-hand side at the moment. England boss Gareth Southgate handed Colwill his senior debut on Friday evening in the Three Lions’ 1-0 win against Australia and used the defender in the position he has been playing in for his club this term.
“Levi is a young defender, we know he is not a left-back as his first choice,” Southgate told reporters after the game at Wembley. “But he is filling that spot for his club and we wanted players where they play for their clubs, so it is as smooth as they could be.”
While Southgate is happy to use Colwill on the left side of a back-four for the time being, his comments suggest he does see the Southampton-born defender in a more central role in the future. Colwill has been impressive at left-back considering it is not his natural position but you do feel as if there is a lot more to come from the defender, especially if he moved into the middle.
After all, the likes of Liverpool and Brighton were desperate to sign Colwill over the summer transfer window – and that was to do with how well he played as a centre-back last season. So logic would suggest we will eventually see the promising defender return to the centre but it might not be anytime soon, with Pochettino clearly trusting the way he has set up his defence in the early stages of the season.
Lewis Dunk, who played alongside Colwill in the middle of the Brighton defence last season, believes the Chelsea man can play anywhere in the back-four. “He’s a top person, and I’ve seen him grow up last year,” Dunk said while on England duty with Colwill.
“I tried to help him as much as I can, and he’s grown massively. Coming to [England] camps now, he’s like a different person.
“He’s taken on the responsibility at Chelsea, and he’s put on a great performance. I’m sure that won’t be his last England appearance. Left-back, centre-back: he’s got it covered. He’s very versatile.”