Hudson-Odoi – Chelsea Golden Boy is Now Struggling to Play
Young Star Finds Career Faltering
Fresh from helping the Young Lions to win the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup in India, top Chelsea prospect Callum Hudson-Odoi was handed his senior Chelsea debut under Italian manager Antonio Conte in a January 2018 FA Cup tie against Newcastle United aged just 17, playing the final ten minutes after replacing Pedro in a 3-0 win.
The English winger joined up with the first team permanently after impressing new manager Maurizio Sarri in pre-season ahead of the 2018/19 season. He scored his first senior goal for the club on his first Europa League start against Greek side PAOK. The teenage winger was the subject of interest from German giants Bayern Munich, with Chelsea rejecting a bid of up to €40 million for the then 18-year-old in January 2019.
Following the huge impact of fellow English youngster Jadon Sancho at Borussia Dortmund, Hudson-Odoi handed a transfer request to the bosses at Chelsea but the club continued to resist a transfer for a player seen as one of the best young wingers in the world at the time. Eventually, Hudson-Odoi signed a big-money contract with Chelsea before the 2019/20 season that would see him earn up to £120,000 weekly for five years, making him one of the world’s highest-paid teenagers.
What Happened to Hudson-Odoi?
After agreeing to the new contract, Hudson-Odoi failed to nail down a regular place at Chelsea in the 2019/20 season under Frank Lampard despite the exit of Eden Hazard to Real Madrid and Chelsea’s transfer ban, making only seven Premier League starts for the club.
Following Chelsea’s huge summer dealings ahead of the 2020/21 season, the future began to look bleak for the young England international after Chelsea signed Moroccan winger Hakim Ziyech and German forwards Timo Werner and Kai Havertz. Before the January sacking of Lampard, Hudson-Odoi had made only 10 league appearances for Chelsea, three of which had been starts. His number of minutes on the pitch stood at 413 during this period.
Hudson-Odoi’s Chelsea Career Under Thomas Tuchel
The appointment of Thomas Tuchel as Chelsea manager brought about a brief upturn in Hudson-Odoi’s fortunes. The German tactician favoured Hudson-Odoi as his right wing-back in his first three matches in charge, giving him 238 minutes of action in his first three league matches, more than half of his total from an entire half of the season.
The English winger saw his problems under Tuchel begin against Southampton on February 20th 2021 when he was substituted on for now-Roma striker Tammy Abraham at half-time before being substituted 31 minutes later for Ziyech. After the match, Tuchel said”
”I was not happy with his attitude, energy and counter-pressing. I took him off and we demand 100%, I feel he is not in the right shape to help us. It was a hard decision but tomorrow it is forgotten.”
Hudson-Odoi started the next match for Chelsea, a Champions League tie against Atletico Madrid and ended up playing a total of 655 minutes under the German manager as Chelsea went on to win the UEFA Champions League.
2021/22 Season – A New Struggle for Hudson-Odoi
Despite impressing in pre-season ahead of the 2021/22 season, Hudson-Odoi has still found minutes hard to come by at Chelsea, only making one league appearance so far. He also started their UEFA Super Cup triumph over Villarreal, lasting 82 minutes before he was substituted. He was the subject of a loan enquiry from Borussia Dortmund on transfer deadline day, but the move was blocked by Tuchel due to his preference for having a good number of players available in his squad.
Hudson-Odoi has seen his development hampered at Chelsea due to his continued deployment as a right wing-back as opposed to his preferred left-wing position. Very few of his minutes at Chelsea have come in his preferred position, and he will be hopeful of getting more chances to play for Chelsea over the next months. Anything short of this would surely see the youngster seek a transfer out of the club at the next opportunity.
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