19 year old Callum Hudson-Odoi, who is a full England international, has recently become the hot topic among the Chelsea community on social media. His poor performances over the past month massively contributing to this debate. While some claim that he is a generational talent and this rough patch will soon be a distant memory, others seem to believe he could be a case of another Musonda, who was rated very highly in the academy but could not replicate those performances at the senior level, along with serious injuries taking their toll on his career. Although the Belgian winger is still young, his career might not reach the heights it once was destined to.
Chelsea fans fear a repeat of this, and are hence very delicate with their criticism towards Hudson-Odoi so as to not diminish his confidence and morale. After all, we must not kick a player when he’s down, but rather support him when he is not at his best. Also bear in mind that he is returning on a back of a serious injury to his Achilles, which takes a long time to shake off entirely.
However, he is a victim of his own expectation, as he set the bar very high by racking up four assists and a goal on his return from injury, with limited opportunities. Every time he came off the bench, there was an aura of anticipation among the fans, craving that spark, that moment of magic which we have been deprived of since the departure of Hazard. This anticipation turns to frustration when an attempted piece of skill does not materialise and the player concedes possession. Our recent drop in results also add to this frustration, and coupled together, leads to certain players getting criticised despite the entire team not being up to the mark. Callum Hudson-Odoi is one such player, along with the usual suspects who have been a scapegoat from the previous season.
Bearing this in mind, one can hardly forget the fiasco of the January window, where he threatened to leave the club if he did not get more minutes on the pitch. He reportedly even submitted a transfer request in an attempt to join Bundesliga giants FC Bayern Munich who did not keep their admiration for this star a secret. He even refused to sign a new contract until Frank Lampard was announced as the Chelsea manager. The English winger is now one of the highest paid players at the club, which has set a bad benchmark with young stars like Tammy Abraham demanding high wages too. Hudson-Odoi also demanded the iconic number 10 jersey when Eden Hazard joined Real Madrid. For a player who can make such demands off the pitch, he must deliver on the pitch and prove his worth, especially when the team are in a tight spot and looking for inspiration from somewhere.
When such statements are made, youth enthusiasts claim that he must be granted time for improvement. However, ironically, they severely criticised the previous manager for slowly introducing him to the first team and saying that the player will not reach his peak for at least another 4 years, i.e, aged 22-23. Whichever side you agree with, one thing is for certain: Callum Hudson-Odoi definitely has to up his game with the fine form of Pulisic and Willian, along with our transfer ban being reduced, meaning we can sign reinforcements in the January window. Playing for a team like Chelsea means you have to deal with the criticisms and ruthlessness which are attributed to being a massive club. However, that being said, this criticism must be constructive, and not blatant abuse directed towards the player.