Chelsea full-back Ben Chilwell says a supportive conversation with boss Thomas Tuchel helped his season take off after a difficult summer.
The 24-year-old did not a play a minute for England at Euro 2020 and then found himself on the bench for the Blues at the start of the season.
But he hit form for club and country a month ago, and is set to start Friday’s World Cup qualifier against Albania.
“It was difficult,” Chilwell said of the summer.
“I’ve been asked quite a lot recently since I’ve started playing and the way I’ve answered is a cliche but: It’s football.
“These are things that are going to happen to the majority of players in their professional career, where they have low moments, high moments.
“The way I try to look at it, I was disappointed that I wasn’t playing in such a massive competition in England. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed.
“But the way I was trying to go into the whole thing was that it happens to a lot of people in football. I just need to make sure I’m ready, I’ll come through this stronger and better on the other side.”
Chilwell scored in his first Premier League start of the season for Chelsea – a 3-1 win against Southampton on 2 October – and two further goals during the month has earned him a nomination for the October Player of the Month award.
He also scored for England in the 5-0 win against Andorra on 9 October.
It is an impressive return to form for the player who, according to Tuchel, returned to Stamford Bridge “mentally exhausted” from the Euros.
“I think it wasn’t so much mental fatigue,” Chiwell added. “I think it was more I was so eager to get back playing football, it was maybe coming across that I wanted it a bit too much.
“Me and the manager at Chelsea had a very honest conversation where he did say to me: ‘You know, I feel like mentally at the moment you’re just, in training, you’re pushing a bit too much to try and get back in the team. We love you here, we know the qualities you possess. Just relax a little bit. You’re going to get back in.’
“For me, that was brilliant to hear – and then it was just about being patient and making sure that I was ready, so that when I was called upon to play I could do my best for the team.”