Chilwell unhappy with stigma around mental health as England defender reflects on World Cup injury heartbreak
England full-back Ben Chilwell revealed how tough he found missing last year's World Cup through injury.
A hamstring problem saw Chilwell watching his national team colleagues from home rather than playing alongside them in Qatar last year.
The Chelsea defender argued that there is too much of a stigma around discussing mental health, in men's football especially.
Chilwell, who disclosed he has been "talking to someone" to benefit his mental well-being, is now back in the England squad as the Three Lions hope for a strong start to their Euro 2024 qualification campaign.
Reflecting on his injury, Chilwell said: "Of course mentally it was very challenging.
"I've been talking to someone for a few years now.
"I think the stigma around it is silly really, especially with men and men in football in particular.
"The way it has helped me, it can definitely help everyone. The stigma around it is something that needs to go.
"All footballers go through periods of their career where things are mentally challenging.
"You have got to be resilient, be strong and try to come through it. That is the way I have tried to look at injuries I have had, spin them into positive situations where I can better myself mentally and physically."
Chilwell's Chelsea team-mate Reece James also missed the World Cup through injury.
For Chilwell, that was something of a blessing in disguise.
He added: "In a weird way it was nice we had each other during that time because it was someone you could share the pain of missing a World Cup with.
"We helped each other a lot through that experience."
The pair returned to Gareth Southgate's latest squad for matches against Italy and Ukraine, and after England went winless in their last Nations League campaign, Chilwell insists qualification is not being taken for granted.
"We're confident that we will qualify and with the talent we have in the squad we're going to do everything to do that," he said.
"But we know we have to work hard to do that. I don't think that sort of mentality really needs to be told.
"The senior players don't need to be telling the younger players that we need to qualify."
England face Italy in Naples at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona on Thursday before hosting Ukraine three days later.