Chelsea defender Trevoh Chalobah has admitted he still has to 'pinch himself' following his unlikely breakthrough into head coach Thomas Tuchel's regular rotation.
The 22-year-old had previously been a member of the club's much-maligned loan army, being sent out on temporary deals three times since 2018. He was widely expected to be loaned out again this season, but instead he has fought his way into his manager's plans at Stamford Bridge.
Having been with the club since the age of eight, Chalobah finally made his debut in the Super Cup victory over Villarreal in August and has gone on to feature 11 times already this campaign, scoring a dream goal on his Premier League bow against Crystal Palace.
Speaking to the media ahead of Chelsea's Champions League clash with Juventus on Tuesday, Chalobah admitted his sudden progress to this point had been "unbelievable".
"I still pinch myself to this day, it has been an unbelievable time for me," he said. "Every time I get the opportunity to play, I give my all."
When asked about gaining Tuchel's trust, he continued: "As a young player, that is what you need, to show the manager you are good enough and that he can trust you.
"When I came in from loan I expected to go again but got the opportunity to train and said I would give my all.
"For me I didn't realise I would start the Palace game, I just took every day as it came. He [Tuchel] just said to me that it is better I stay here and learn here."
Chalobah also spoke about the influence of the more senior centre-backs at the club, including one of his idols.
"Thiago Silva was one of my idols growing up as a kid, and with how successful he’s been," he added.
"It’s great sharing the pitch and training sessions with him. For me as a young player he is someone I need to look at for where I want to be, and where I want to go to.
"Antonio [Rudiger] has been a very big mentor for me since I first came here. He took me in and helped me in training sessions. When I went out on loan, he told me what was needed. Now’s it’s good to share the same pitch with him."