The question that has been on everyone’s mind is what is happening with the newest England international Callum Hudson-Odoi? Those that have followed him, aren’t surprised by his meteoric rise from the youth teams to the international stage at such a young age of 18. Even becoming the second youngest player to start for England in a competitive match after Wayne Rooney.
But with multiple clubs waiting to get their hands on the highly rated youngster, what can Chelsea do to convince him to stay?
For those that don’t know a lot about Callum, here is a quick summary. He was born in Wandsworth, England on 7th of November 2000. He is the younger brother of non-League striker Bradley Hudson-Odoi and the son of former Hearts of Oak Ghanaian midfielder Bismark Odoi. Hudson-Odoi was educated at Whitgift School in Croydon. He joined the Chelsea youth setup in 2007 and worked his way up the ranks to the Chelsea and England first team. He made his under-18 debut in August 2016 and his first team debut in the FA cup match against Newcastle on 28th of January 2018. Even at a young age, he has an amazing honours list, having won the FA youth cup with Chelsea in 2016/17 and 2017/18, the U-18 Premier league title in 2016/17 as well as the FIFA U-17 world cup in 2017. No wonder he is so highly rated at Chelsea and among their fanbase, quickly becoming a fan favourite.
According to The Times, Chelsea are simply going to refuse to sell him. While this will stop the young star leaving for now, with his contract up in 2020, he could simply leave on a free transfer, leaving Chelsea with nothing.
But how did Chelsea end up in this situation?
With their previous track record of youth progression into the first team being 1 in 20 years, everyone can see why many of the youth players including Hudson-Odoi would want to leave. The main reason for this has been the instability of the club. While the constant changing of managers has been successful for Chelsea Football Club, amassing 15 trophies in the last 15 years, the biggest casualty of this rigorous method has been the youth players. Managers are required to deliver immediate success and have no choice but to go out and sign a new player than trust someone who could one day become a star. The managers simply don’t have the time for youth players to grow. For this reason, I believe the only way the youth teams would have a clear path into the first team would be with a manager who will be given job security, someone who isn’t required to deliver instant success, but rather to set up the team for the next 10 years.
However, some may argue Chelsea’s current manager has no excuses for not starting Hudson-Odoi, with his competition being a world class Eden Hazard and an ageing Willian and Pedro who are on the decline. Surely, he deserves to be 2nd choice.
Personally, I believe the only player stopping Hudson-Odoi is Hazard himself. While both being superbly talented, defensively neither are strong when compared to the likes of Willian and Pedro and neither have the stamina to press and track back. And with Sarri’s team not the strongest defensively, it would be foolish to start both Hazard and
Hudson-Odoi, as much as myself and many Chelsea fans would love to see it. The overload from the opposing team’s wingers and fullbacks would be too much to handle for Chelsea’s defence. Hence why Maurizio Sarri has always started Hudson-Odoi with a Willian or Pedro on the other wing in order to add a balance to the team defensively.
With Hazard’s future also in doubt, and with Real Madrid circling, it seems inevitable the two parties will get their wish. And with Willian and Pedro not getting any younger and their contracts also up in a year’s time, it seems like Hudson-Odoi is simply a year away from being a first team regular. And with the current rumours being that Hudson-Odoi is leaning towards signing a new contract we can only conclude that Hudson-Odoi will be Chelsea’s no.10 for the next decade, and with Pulisic being a more defensive RW he’ll have the freedom he needs to do what he does best.
In conclusion, we just need to be patient with Hudson-Odoi, he is still only 18 and with the world at his feet, he will only rise to the top. As for Chelsea fans, the future is exciting, with young fast wingers like Pulisic and Hudson-Odoi, we can only drool at the sight of both players tearing up the league.