Gilchrist reacts to Chelsea debut: ‘My first touch was a good tackle and my second was just a smash’
Alfie Gilchrist is a name that many Chelsea fans have become very familiar with over the past few days.
The 20-year-old has grown popular after making his Chelsea debut against Crystal Palace last Wednesday.
With Chelsea looking to defend and keep their lead against Palace, Gilchrist was subbed on by Mauricio Pochettino, and as soon as he came on, the centre back threw himself straight into a challenge that left the whole of Stamford impressed.
The young defender has revealed what making his Blues debut meant to him.
“Sometimes I wouldn’t be sent out to warm up much in the second half, but I felt I was out warming up a bit more than normal, so I was thinking this could be it,” Gilchrist recalled to the official Chelsea website.
“The longer it stayed at 1-1, Alex [Matos] and I were looking at each other thinking ‘maybe this is not the game we’re going to be coming on’. Then we saw Jesus [Perez, assistant head coach] running down the line and realised what it meant. We looked at each other again as if to say ‘Which one of us is it?’.
“It was me, so I sprinted back to the bench and got changed. I was on the side ready to come on, but then there was a long wait for VAR when we got a penalty. So I had to warm up a bit more until they called me over again.
“I was standing there watching as we scored the penalty and waiting for the moment. My mouth had gone dry so I kept drinking water. I was just trying to prepare myself.”
He also said: “The moment I came on was amazing,’ he beamed. ‘My first touch was a good tackle and my second was just a smash. That’s what you’ve got to do, make sure the first thing you do is positive, and from there, you hope, it will take care of itself.
“As soon as I put the big challenge in I just heard the whole crowd erupt so I just got up and went again to try and get it, make another tackle or block.
“I’d been on the bench a few times this year and when it did come to the moment when he called me over, it was just like ‘this is it’. You always have to prepare and have the right mindset to be ready just in case you do have the chance to come on. I just wanted to take my chance and I was full of energy.”