Sheffield Wednesday v Huddersfield Town: Chelsea loan star Levi Colvill welcomes pressure at Terriers

Levi Colwill likes “haters” on his back, so playing his first senior game in not just a Yorkshire derby but away in a cup tie which will mark the return of fans to Hillsborough after 515 agonising days away should be right up his street.

Just in case it needed more spice, the 18-year-old centre-back on loan from Chelsea will wear number 26, immortalised at Stamford Bridge by John Terry and most recently worn at Huddersfield Town by their own legend, Christopher Schindler. No pressure, then.

Colwill, though, comes across as someone who likes a bit of pressure, a ball-playing defender prepared to take risks for results. His comfort zone at the end of last season must have been cosy, training with Chelsea’s superstars as they prepared for a European Cup final, but he would rather the blood and thunder of facing Sheffield Wednesday tomorrow.

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“Pressure makes me shine more,” he insists.

BRING IT ON: Chelsea's Levi Colwill is happy to be thrown in at the deep end at Huddersfield Town. Picture: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

“It creates more haters in a way and makes more people not believe in you. I just love proving to people that I’m not what they think.

“Training with the first team was a very good thing but in the long run it won’t really mean much to me unless I prove myself day in, day out in such a good league. There have been players at Chelsea that have trained with the first team but that’s the furthest they go.

“The label of promising talent doesn’t really mean much to me.”

Having decided to cut the apron strings, Colwill needed the right club, and Huddersfield has become a good home to Chelsea loanees.

Huddersfield Town manager Carlos Corberan. Picture: Mike Egerton/PA

“I probably just needed someone to trust me and let me gain experience because I will make mistakes but it’s all about bouncing back and turning into a man,” he says.

“I’ve not come here to make mistakes, I’ve come to show I’m a good player, to show I can play for Huddersfield, a club that’s got high expectations. I just need to show the fans I am able to play in this team, even at this young age.”

Carlos Corberan’s style suits Colwill, who is no Terry clone.

“I like breaking the press, stepping in and doing things the opposition don’t like,” he reflects.

“I like to take a risk and hopefully get big rewards. I like stepping in more as a midfielder or attacker, not just being a defender that passes and stays back. It’s kind of like having another attacker.”

The Chelsea kite mark does not daunt him, and he takes his squad number as motivation.

“Some people might say he’s been with Chelsea, he’s got to be good, but I’ve got to prove I can live up to the name of being a Chelsea player,” he argues.

“It’s a very big (squad) number for the club and the town! I didn’t really know too much about it until I got told so I need to definitely step up.”

Corberan is under pressure too after last season tailed off from a possible play-off push at halfway to a relegation battle.

With injuries and games thick and fast, he became more firefighter than footballing philosopher, an attractive part one making way for a post-Christmas grind.

Huddersfield did not score enough and of more concern to Corberan was the Championship’s worst defensive record. The second half of that losing formula makes releasing no-messing centre-backs like Schindler, Richard Stearman and Richard Keogh and signing Colwill brave on Town’s part.

Corberan has asked for and got a deeper squad, albeit on a pandemic budget.

“It was a tough two or three months but every time you have difficulty everyone is stronger (for coming through it),” he says.

“We want to recover the things that were positive at the start but improving some of the weaknesses we were showing.

“Our mindset is to be solid defensively and dominate games, to be more aggressive in the last third, to create many chances.”

After last year’s rush, he has been delighted by “a real pre-season”, with Colwill, Jordan Rhodes, Lee Nicholls, Matty Pearson, Josh Ruffels and Ollie Turton signed in time to get the full experience but not all the injuries will go away, most worryingly the groin problem which hampered Pipa’s late-season.

“He played against Fleetwood (in midweek) and continued having the pain he felt last season,” a disappointed confirmed Corberan.

“Over the summer the doctors tried to mange it conservatively, without any surgery, but it didn’t work in the way we wanted it to.

“He still felt pain so it was important to test him in a real game, that’s why he played 60 minutes against Fleetwood, but after he still had pain.

“We have to solve it or we won’t see the best of Pipa.”

Aaron Rowe and Rolando Aarons are also injured, and Fraizer Campbell and Rarmani Edmonds-Green recovering from Covid-19.

Isaac Mbenza and Juninho Bacuna will be frozen out as Karlan Grant was last season to push them towards the exit and Corberan could give no guarantees, only hope, that reported interest from Leeds United, or anyone else, in Lewis O’Brien does not see the academy product leave the Terriers next month.