Published: 06:00, 10 September 2021
| Updated: 08:34, 10 September 2021
Ebbsfleet utility man Ben Chapman doesn’t know his favourite position – but he’s loving his football at Stonebridge Road.
The 22-year-old has been seen at wing-back, centre-midfield and even as part of a back three since joining the Fleet at the start of last season.
But he’s happy to carry the utility tag and believes it works in his favour.
“My whole career, I’ve played everywhere,” explained Chapman. “I started as a sweeper/centre-back, played right-back, left-wing, centre-midfield, deep or high.
“It’s not out of the blue to me, I know in myself that I’ve got the quality and ability to win headers, play football, to shoot. I know I’ve got it, the gaffer knows that and that’s why he allows me to play the different positions I do.
“I couldn’t tell you which one is my favourite at the moment. I enjoy being a winger or playing in the back three, I like defending and winning that last-ditch challenge.
“It works for you more as the gaffer knows he can put me in a position and that I’ll do that role. It allows someone like me to play more.”
Chapman turned professional with Gillingham in 2017 but left Priestfield two years later, despite being offered a new deal by the League 1 outfit.
Instead, he’s been progressing his game in National League South, first with Dulwich and now Ebbsfleet.
“I’m always looking to progress,” he added. “I’ve learnt so much since I came down from Gillingham. Obviously Covid ended my time at Dulwich early but I’ve grown as a person and a player.
“I came out as a boy (from Gillingham) and gone straight into men’s football. I had the odd loan but it wasn’t to the ability and the level of National South.
“This is my second season here, I’m loving it. The gaffer plays the kind of football I like to play, I’m playing all sorts of new positions and feel I am progressing as a player. It’s enjoyable to be here.”
Good technically on the ball, Chapman fits perfectly into Ebbsfleet manager Dennis Kutrieb’s style of play.
He’s particularly impressed that the team will stick to their style throughout, demonstrated perfectly by their response to conceding two early goals against Havant last weekend.
“We know what our playing style is like and we stick to that no matter what,” he said. “When we woke up, we showed that.
“If we’d gone to route one, it’s not us and it wouldn’t work. It would have been a completely different game. That’s the gaffer, he puts the trust and confidence in us and he knows our ability to go and play, settle down and get the ball moving.
“It’s not out of luck that they look like pretty goals (this season). It’s something that we work on, the boys all know each other well so everyone knows where everyone is going to be.
“We could have done with a scrappy goal (against Havant), we created the chances but we just couldn’t put them away.”
Chapman does have one battle ahead though, catching up team-mate Craig Tanner’s artwork. Tanner has two sleeves while Chapman only has tattoos on one arm - but he’s vowed to catch up.
“He’s ahead of me but he’s a couple of years older than me, when I’m his age I’ll have the other arm done!”