Ben Mee is excited at the prospect of doing battle with Chelsea’s £70m frontman Alvara Morata on Saturday.
Blues boss Antonio Conte has hinted the Spain international, who arrived from Real Madrid over the summer, could make his debut against Burnley at Stamford Bridge.
And Mee hopes to make his welcome to English football as uncomfortable as he can to start what he hopes will be a big year on a personal and collective level: “It will be good to see what Morata is like.
“I think we’ll have a few clips on him and they’ll have done a little bit of research on him that will be fed back to us. We’ll play it by ear.
“For a defender especially it’s worth watching strikers movements, not too much, not overkill but I think you can get an idea of what type of player they are like. There’s that many games on TV now you can watch and see and you kind of know what each player and each striker is like.
“Some players have different styles but that won’t affect the way that we go about our business. We’ll have a game plan and I’m sure we’ll have the same game-plan regardless of whoever plays up front.”
Mee was the lesser heralded, certainly outside town, of his centre back pairing with Michael Keane last season, but after Keane’s departure, he will be the main man: “We were a duo but I felt the responsibility last year as well, I was the more senior player of us two. Obviously he went on to play for England but I felt that we learnt from each other and we did play well together but it’s a new season.”
A season Mee hopes will see him push for a first England call up: “It’s definitely an ambition of mine and something I might focus more on this season. Last season I just wanted to play well in the Premier League and maybe this season I want to kick-on and improve up to that standard. I’ll be knocking on the door I guess and working as hard as I can to try and do that.”
Mee is likely to be partnered by James Tarkowski in claret and blue this season, and he has no doubt he will rise to the challenge: “He’s learned through our training how the club works, how we work. I think it is tough to sit on the side-lines for so long as a young lad. I think it was frustrating for him because obviously me and Keano had a really good partnership and he was just waiting in the wings and he’s a very good player. Hopefully he’ll get a chance and take it this season. You can improve in training but you do need that experience in games to bring that other side of your game along. Especially for a defender, making them errors, the judgements, the mistakes, that’s something you need to learn not to do and that’s a big part of being a defender.
“On the ball he’s very comfortable and he’s a big strong boy as well so that’ll help. He’ll come into the team and do well if need be. He’s looking for a space and he’s been waiting last season to get his chance and he had a few games at the end last season and he’ll be wanting more.”