“When I scored, I didn’t know what to do. I dropped to my knees. I was crying.”
It has been quite a week for Trevoh Chalobah.
The 22-year-old, who has been at Chelsea since he was eight, made a surprise debut in Wednesday’s Uefa Super Cup win over Villarreal, having impressed Thomas Tuchel in pre-season.
And he went one better on Saturday on his Premier League debut. The centre-back picked the ball up in space, drove forward and hammered in a screamer from 25 yards which clipped the inside of the post on the way in, the third goal in a 3-0 win over Crystal Palace.
“I couldn’t believe when the ball went in,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live. “I didn’t know it went in until the crowd cheered. It was a surreal moment.”
After the ball went in Chalobah looked stunned, held his face in his hands and sunk to his knees. His team-mates mobbed him and he was still expressionless when they pulled him to his feet a few seconds later.
Former England defender Matt Upson was at the game for the BBC and said: “It almost looked like a scared reaction, like one of horror. It was fantastic, it was real.
“His team-mates picked him off the floor like something disastrous had happened. No Trevoh, you’ve scored a goal. He was overcome with emotion.”
Chalobah’s sudden emergence has come as a surprise to most, especially with Chelsea having senior internationals and big-money signings in nearly every position.
Paris St-Germain legend Thiago Silva, who has won 98 caps for Brazil, and France international Kurt Zouma were both on the bench.
“I’m lost for words,” Chalobah said. “It’s been an amazing week for me. I’ve been at this club since I was eight. Playing at Stamford Bridge where I have been watching a lot of games, being a ball boy, watching games with my family… finally playing here is amazing.”
Tuchel told BBC Sport: “He gets all the praise and it’s well deserved. He’s had two excellent matches. It’s fantastic these things happen in sport. A perfect day for him.
“This is what everyone loves about football – a mix of famous players from abroad and quality players from the academy.”
Chalobah – whose other brother Nathaniel played 15 times for Chelsea in 2016-17 – has spent the past three seasons out on loan.
He played for Ipswich and Huddersfield in the Championship and then for Lorient in France’s Ligue 1 last season.
“When I got the opportunity [to go to France], I had no doubts,” he said. “I knew what I needed to do. From playing in the Championship, I wanted to test my ability in one of the best leagues in the world.
“When I first started pre-season this summer the aim was to impress the manager, being first in training, giving him what he wants and giving my all.”
And he certainly did. But how far can he go?
Upson said: “I don’t think he’d have expected to start the Premier League season. There’s an opening in that position and he’s stepped in and taken it. He’s got a foot on the ladder.”
Chalobah said: “In football it’s important to have consistency to stay grounded and hungry and want more.”