Bertrand shock at start
Chelsea youngster staggered by role in European glory
Last Updated: May 20, 2012 3:44pm
Ryan Bertrand: Grateful for the help of Ashley Cole after a glorious European debut
Ryan Bertrand has admitted even he could not believe he was picked to start in Chelsea's sensational UEFA Champions League final victory.
The Blues beat Bayern Munich in their own Allianz Arena on penalties to lift the trophy for the first time in their history.
And the 22-year-old was a shock inclusion, playing out of position on the left-wing to become the first man to make his European debut in the final itself since Aston Villa's Nigel Spink in 1982.
The incredible show of faith by Chelsea interim boss Roberto Di Matteo reaped rewards and represents a remarkable turnaround for the player.
He had not even been in Chelsea's Champions League squad before Christmas and has been loaned out to five different clubs in his brief career.
"When the manager told me I was playing, of course I could hardly believe it, but I knew what I had to do," said Bertrand.
"I'm still waiting for someone to pinch me now.
"I tried to relax and go to sleep in the afternoon but had all these images flashing through my mind.
"I was getting all these flashbacks, too, of when I was a kid, growing up in South London, in Peckham, in Bermondsey, tough places, playing against the wall with my mates.
"I spent time at so many clubs, I wondered at times where my career was going, but I never gave up.
"Ashley Cole has been such a massive help to me too. All the way through. It was great being out there with him, he kept his eye on me.
"The atmosphere was amazing. Bayern fans outnumbered the Chelsea fans and it wasn't 50-50 in there, there was more like 70% of them, against us, but we stuck in there together and won it.
"It's just incredible."
He added: "I can't believe it, it hasn't sunk in.
"Looking at the experienced players, I am so happy for them.
"I didn't want to go out and let anyone down, especially the manager, and these guys have got what they've always been fighting for."