Nathaniel Chalobah

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Nathaniel Chalobah
0Full Name Nathaniel Nyakie Chalobah
0Date of Birth 12 December 1994
0Place of Birth Freetown, Sierra Leone
0Position Defender
0Chelsea career 2006 – 2017
0Debut 20 September 2016
0Games (goals) 13 (0)
0Other clubs Watford (loan)
Nottingham Forest (loan)
Middlesbrough (loan)
Burnley (loan)
Reading (loan)
Napoli (loan)

Nathaniel Chalobah (born 12 December 1994 in Freetown, Sierra Leone) is a defender and midfielder who played for Chelsea between 2006 and 2017. Having joined the club as a youngster he made his first team debut in 2016, having spent most of his senior career on loan at various English clubs, in addition to a season spent at Napoli.


Pre-Chelsea career

Nathaniel joined Chelsea as an Under-8. He is the older brother of Trevoh Chalobah.

Chelsea career

A centre-back or central midfielder, Nathaniel made rapid progress through the Chelsea age groups and played well above his age group throughout his junior career. The 2009-10 season saw Nathaniel make his Under-18 debut shortly after his 15th birthday. He began to establish himself in the team some eighteen months ahead of schedule, and made a Reserve team appearance in a friendly in March 2010. His first goal came against Leicester City in April and he followed it up with another late in the season against Ipswich Town.

He played most of the 2010-11 season with the Reserve team, having joined Carlo Ancelotti's first team squad for pre-season. He scored his first goal at reserve level against Liverpool in September 2010 with a header from a corner.

He also scored goals against Sunderland, Barnsley and Manchester United (twice) in the club's FA Youth Cup run.

He 'officially' became a scholar for the 2011-12 season but was named Reserve Team captain by Dermot Drummy early in the campaign. Playing mainly in midfield, he impressed hugely in the first half of the season, the highlight being a spectacular brace in the 4-0 win over Arsenal in December.

He continued in the same vein in the second half of the year and captained the Under-18s to 2011-12 FA Youth Cup glory, scoring in the First Leg of the Final to extend what is a remarkable scoring record in the competition.

On transfer deadline day August 2012, Nathaniel joined Watford on a half-season loan, linking up with manager Gianfranco Zola. Taking up a role in central midfield in Zola's 3-5-2 formation, he had a fantastic season, becoming a regular in a team battling for promotion whilst weighin in with five goals, including a spectacular strike away to Leicester in April 2013.

Named the Championship Young Player of the Month for that month, it was a big end of season for both player and club as Watford contested a hard-fought run-in during which they failed to earn one of the automatic promotion berths. They did, however, reach the Playoff Final at Wembley, but unfortunately fell short at the last, losing 1-0 to Crystal Palace in a match which marked the end of Chalobah's stay at Vicarage Road.

A return to Watford was on the cards for 2013-14 but an early-season injury scuppered the chances of a long-term deal and instead he joined Nottingham Forest on a 90-day deal. His stay at the City Ground was less than auspicious, with an early red card away to Brighton and an unsettled time overall where first team minutes proved hard to come by. The deal expired on January 15th and two days later he joined Middlesbrough until the end of the season.

There he enjoyed a better time of things, finishing his stay at the Riverside with one goal in nineteen appearances, and after spending the 2014-15 pre-season with the Chelsea first-team squad, he finally secured a Premier League loan on transfer deadline day when he joined Burnley. Unfortunately, he was limited to just four appearances as manager Sean Dyche refused to rotate his ultimately-relegated squad and so Nathaniel returned to Chelsea at the turn of the year. A proposed move to Bordeaux fell through due to FIFA regulations decreeing that a solitary Under-21 appearance represented him playing for Chelsea and therefore the maximum of two clubs in a season, leaving him resigned to an 'emergency' Football League loan.

That materialised in the form of a stay at Reading, where he finally recaptured some form and confidence. An impressive outing against Arsenal at Wembley in an FA Cup Semi Final whilst carrying an injury was the highlight of a stay that ended an altogether frustrating season.

2015-16 saw him head overseas to join Napoli, where despite struggling to make a regular impact in the first team, he grew in stature and personality and became a fan and club favourite. The club supported him through the premature loss of his mother to illness midway through the season and his stay there helped convince new manager Antonio Conte to keep him in the Chelsea squad upon his return for the 2016-17 season.

After a long, long wait, he finally made his Chelsea debut on 20 September 2016 in a League Cup tie away to Leicester City, and soon made his Premier League debut afterwards. He established himself briefly as Conte's 'closer' towards the end of matches and made 15 appearances in all competitions en route to becoming a Premier League champion.

However, those 15 matches amounted to too few satisfactory minutes in blue, leading to him signing a five-year deal with former club Watford on July 13th 2017, ending his eleven-year stay at Stamford Bridge.


Nathaniel has represented England every level up to the Under-21s. At Under-17 he was full year younger than any of his teammates but was a key part of coach John Peacock's plans. He was named the starting centre-back for the 2010 European Under-17 Championships in Liechtenstein (despite being the youngest player in the competition), which England won.

For the 2010-11 season, Nathaniel was the captain of the England Under-17 team which reached the European Under-17 Championship Semi Finals and qualified for the FIFA Under-17 World Cup.

Having graduated from the age group at the end of the World Cup, he became a regular part of Noel Blake's Under-19 team, and served as captain in 2011-12. During the 2012-13 campaign, he earned a call-up to Stuart Pearce's Under-21 squad and impressed sufficiently to become a full-time member of that squad, passing 50 appearances for England's youth teams by the age of 17.

He was included in the final party for the 2013 and 2015 European Under-21 Championships and is set for involvement in the 2017 tournament too. He is the most-capped England youth player of all time, collecting 97 caps across all age groups after completing the European Under-21 Championships of 2017.

He also remains eligible for Sierra Leone.

Career statistics

Youth, Reserve and Under-21 Football

Season Under-18 NextGen Under-21 Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
2009-10 8 2 - - 0 0 8 2
2010-11 12 5 - - 14 2 26 7
2011-12 13 2 - - 15 4 28 6
2012-13 0 0 1 0 2 0 3 0
2013-14 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0
2014-15 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0
Total 33 9 1 0 33 6 67 15

Senior Club Football

Season Club League FA Cup League Cup Europe Other Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
2012-13 Watford (loan) 41 5 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 42 5
2013-14 Nottingham Forest (loan) 12 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 12 2
2013-14 Middlesbrough (loan) 19 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 19 1
2014-15 Burnley (loan) 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 0
2014-15 Reading (loan) 15 1 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 20 1
2015-16 Napoli (loan) 5 0 1 0 0 0 3 1 0 0 9 1
Total 96 9 7 0 0 0 3 1 0 0 106 10


Season Prem FA Cup League Cup Europe Other Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
2016-17 10 0 3 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 15 0
Total 10 0 3 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 15 0

Career honours




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