Nat Chalobah enjoying Neapolitan life on loan in Italy

Wednesday 14 Oct 2015
Chalobah has been on loan with Napoli since early September
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England Under-21s midfielder Nathaniel Chalobah says he is already enjoying the Neapolitan way of life, following his loan switch to Italian club SSC Napoli.

The Chelsea midfielder is no stranger to a spell on loan, having previously spent time developing away from Stamford Bridge with Watford, Nottingham Forest, Middlesbrough, Burnley and Reading.

But the 20-year-old has now been exposed to a different kind of learning experience with the high-flying Serie A club.

And despite being in Naples for just over a month he say he been making the most of his new surroundings and exploring Italy’s third largest city.

England Under-21s midfielder Nathaniel Chalobah in action against Kazakhstan

Chalobah was a second-half substitute for the U21s against Kazakhstan on Tuesday

"You don’t get bored, as there’s always things to do and the weather has been nice most of the time, it’s just really relaxed," he told TheFA.com.

"It’s a simple life over there, so it's not really complicated and the city has been good, I’ve been on a few walks into town and had a look around. It is a beautiful city and a nice, historic place.

"I’d heard it could be quite dangerous, but I think that’s just something you hear and get told, because I haven’t seen anything like that at all.

"The people are really passionate about their football, real fanatics and they love Napoli, their city and their football team.

"I’ve seen that from when I’ve just been out for a walk and people were stopping me for photos, and I’ve not even really played a game for them yet. 

"And that passion runs throughout the club, all of the players are passionate about the games and that comes from it running throughout the whole city."

Living in a city centre apartment, the south Londoner has immersed himself into life in Campania by taking intensive Italian lessons and urging his new team-mates to speak in their native tongue to him.

England

Chalobah has been capped by England at U16, U17, U19 and U21 level

"I’ve started lessons and I’m getting it bit-by-bit and slowly but surely," he explained.

"Speaking to people helps, the lads try and speak Italian to me and for anything I don’t understand, it’s best for me to ask questions [in Italian] and that’s the best way to learn.

"Learning a language is something you can keep for life though, and learning as you live in a country can only help that."

As well as the cultural side of life in the Gulf of Naples, Chalobah is also hoping to be enriched by experiences on the pitch during his season in Serie A.

Napoli are sat in sixth spot in the Italian top flight, just four points off table toppers Fiorentina who they host this weekend, and competing in the Europa League.

After joining at the start of September when their current run had already started, Chalobah’s opportunities have so far been limited to the bench and one appearance in their Europa League win at Legia Warsaw on 1 October.

But he is already learning just by training alongside Gonzalo Higuain, Lorenzo Insigne, Marek Hamsik and Allan, who all featured in Napoli’s stunning 4-0 win over AC Milan at the San Siro before the international break.

SSC Napoli

SSC Napoli's Allan celebrates scoring in their 4-0 win over AC Milan at the San Siro

"It’s been good, learning a different style of play and the Italian league is a very good league," revealed Chalobah, who picked up his 24th cap for the U21s when he came on in the win against Kazakhstan on Tuesday night.

"Experience-wise, it’s been good for me to see how they play their football, the culture, the lifestyle and everything else.

"I’ve enjoyed it so far and I’m just hoping to get more game-time but at the minute, the team is doing really well and it’s tough but I’ve got to be patient.

"There’s some quality players in the squad, a lot of talent and that has shown in the games and results that we’ve had in the last couple of weeks.

"We’ve been winning a lot of games and getting good results so the manager has been sticking with the team, but it’s great to be a part of it."

Chalobah will be hoping he's back in his homeland next month, when the U21s face Switzerland in a Euro Qualifier at Brighton’s Amex Community Stadium on Monday 16 November.

Tickets for the game cost just £10 for adults and £5 for concessions. Click here for more details.

By Nicholas Veevers