Ben Chilwell

Chilwell Makes England Debut As Three Lions Defeat Switzerland In Leicester

Leicester City Academy graduate Ben Chilwell made his senior debut for England as Switzerland visited King Power Stadium on Tuesday night.
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Over 30,000 fans watched on from the Filbert Way stands as the Three Lions recorded a 1-0 victory courtesy of Marcus Rashford’s neat second-half finish.

On the morning of the game, Gareth Southgate’s men enjoyed a light training session at Belvoir Drive, where Harry Maguire, Chilwell and Demarai Gray returned to familiar surroundings, this time donning the famous three lions on their shirts. 

The squad were put through their paces in the Leicestershire rain in preparation for the visit of Switzerland, who heading into the game promised to be a troublesome opponent having swept aside Iceland last weekend.

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Harry Maguire
Harry Maguire

Harry Maguire strides forward with the ball in front of the home crowd.

Still brimming with optimism following an inspiring 2018 FIFA World Cup campaign, the Three Lions – now ranked sixth in the world – visited Leicester for the first time since June 2003, when Serbia and Montenegro provided the opposition.

Fifteen years later, having played in that 2-1 win, which came courtesy of strikes from Steven Gerrard and Joe Cole, Southgate led his Lions out of the tunnel and into the vociferous King Power Stadium bowl.  

The visiting side started well as Liverpool’s Xherdan Shaqiri hit the base of the post, before England skipper Eric Dier flicked a header wide at the other end just moments later.

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Ben Chilwell
Ben Chilwell

The left-back replaces Tottenham Hotspur's Danny Rose with just over 10 minutes to play on Filbert Way.

While Jack Butland was on hand twice to keep Switzerland at bay, Chilwell and Gray were instructed to warm-up on the touchline and were greeted by a huge round of applause from the home fans, many of whom watch the duo week in, week out for the Foxes.

After the break, Rashford scored the only goal of the game, converting Kyle Walker’s neat cross from the right with 54 minutes on the clock.

Then, with just over 10 minutes to play, Chilwell was introduced in place of Danny Rose to become the 1,235th player to represent England and the 20th man to play for the Three Lions while at Leicester City.

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Demarai Gray and Ben Chilwell
Demarai Gray and Ben Chilwell

Demarai Gray and Ben Chilwell warm-up for England during their international friendly against Switzerland at King Power Stadium.

“It’s amazing feeling,” Chilwell said at full-time. “Making my debut at King Power Stadium in front of the home fans is massive for me, I’ve been here since the age of 12. My friends and family are here and all of the Leicester staff were here too.

“I know the Under-21s won today as well and that’s great for them too – it’s been a brilliant day for me and the rest of the lads.”

While Maguire completed 90 minutes at King Power Stadium, winger Gray was an unused substitute, but will no doubt have gained valuable experience while away with the national team.

Maguire, whose name rang out from the concourses throughout, added: "It was a big result for us tonight. We wanted to win and the fans were brilliant - every time I play here, the fans shout my name."

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