‘We’re not in a period where the transfer window or market is acting like it has done in recent years in terms of how players move or what level they move at. Again, the competitive games have just started. I’m very open to those conversations with the players as the next couple of weeks go on. My priority will always be making sure I maintain and keep the strongest squad I can for this club but after that, of course, the individual conversations will happen within that. I will try and make sure I go into the season once the window shuts with the squad that I feel is competitive in a healthy way. Of course, I have an idea of the number in the squad I want to make the squad have healthy competition, but not to have so many players not competing regularly and feeling like they’re out of squads and not getting the minutes they want.’
Frank Lampard’s recent comments regarding Callum Hudson-Odoi’s future at Chelsea
Hudson-Odoi is a pacey, skilful winger who can operate on either wing. He can take on defenders, has got a great right foot, can combine with attacking midfielders to exploit defences and offers something different altogether when it comes to counter-attack. He plays in a manner similar to the likes of Raheem Sterling, whom Frank Lampard regards as a set example for young players who want to aim for the stars. Frank has suggested Callum to idolise Sterling and add to his game some of the qualities that today make Raheem Sterling one of the most consistent and explosive forwards across Europe.
Callum’s relationship with his manager has been nothing short of interesting over the last year. While there being constant speculation about Callum with a loan or permanent move to Germany, Frank has often publicly said that Callum needs to work harder in training and focus on the pitch if he is to make his case for selection. Though Frank admires him as a player, he’s always been cautious while praising Callum, contrary to him being very vocal on Mason Mount, who has made his way into Gareth Southgate’s senior England squad.
It may be erred that Lampard doesn’t have faith in Hudson-Odoi, thereby he doesn’t play him as often as he may be merited to, but apparently a 19-year old lad on big wages needs to be kept in check with the fear of failure and how everything could go wrong. One could rightly argue that Callum deserves a fair shot at making his mark on the first team, but with the likes of Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic returning to fitness soon, it is fair to say that opportunities will be even difficult to come for the England U-20 international.
Another dimension to this story, one that is relatively undiscussed, is his England career. Watching the likes of Phil Foden, Mason Greenwood, Mason Mount and Trent Alexander-Arnold being called up for the senior squad, it is all down to Callum to decide if he needs to go play on a consistent basis elsewhere or if he is willing to trust in Frank Lampard’s path for him. On the reverse side, Chelsea have seen this happen before with Mohamed Salah, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku; exciting youngsters who left the club and developed with time and have cemented their place among the world’s best players today. The prospect of that happening with a product of their brilliant academy would be even more hurtful for Chelsea fans.
Focusing of Callum finally, he’s made a bright start to the season with encouraging performances, though most of them mere cameos off the bench. He recently came off the bench at The Hawthorns and scored a vital goal for The Blues in their hard-fought 3-3 draw. But then again, the strange thing about football and the transfer market is that it can all change in a flash. Callum knows he is way down the pecking order as of today and when the squad is fully fit, it is very likely that most of his starts will be limited to the FA Cup now that Chelsea have been knocked out of the Carabao Cup by bitter rivals Tottenham Hotspur.
Have fellow English Jadon Sancho and Jude Bellingham given rise to a new trend wherein young players don’t appear to wait for their opportunity in the Premier League and seem comfortable with the prospect of finding experience with regular minutes abroad? And that has its pros and cons as well. A teenager playing week-in week-out can either add experience and maturity to his game or can prove to be a victim of ‘too much too early’. It can also be argued that training alongside the first-teamers everyday and learning from them constantly can improve his attitude and appreciation of the game and of the importance of putting in a shift on the training pitch on a regular basis.
One only needs to consider how Pep Guardiola convinced Phil Foden to not go out on loan because of the project that Pep had in store and the fact that Foden was training with Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva and Bernardo Silva for a few years before he finally nailed down a starting place in a City side who have bid farewell to David Silva. But can a player as gifted as Hudson-Odoi afford to wait around for his chance in modern-day football? Callum would start for possibly every club in the Premier League bar Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea, of course. The talent is there and it just needs showing on a maintained but consistent basis.
Callum Hudson-Odoi is a name circling around the footballing world and with the transfer window set to shut come 5th October, there are huge question marks surrounding the 19-year old’s future at his boyhood club. With Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano recently reporting on social media that Lampard wants to keep Callum despite strong interest from Bayern Munich, it is set to be a frantic couple of days as it remains to be seen where his allegiance will lie come Monday.
Elsewhere, German reporter and journalist Christian Falk also recently posted on social media that talks between the German outfit and Chelsea regarding Callum will be reaching a conclusion soon. Will be finally close the door on ‘his’ club and try to find regular first-team football elsewhere, maybe at Bayern Munich? Will he respect his manager by committing to the club he loves and where he has a contract till September 2024? It all comes down to two words, belief and ambition. With recent reports suggesting that he has hired a personal trainer and acquired a pitch to work on his fitness and stamina, it may be suggested that he is taking on the challenge of fighting for his place at Stamford Bridge, much to the relief of Chelsea fans. Remains to be seen however, because no one really knows what’s going on inside a professional footballer’s head but keep in mind that nothing is impossible on deadline day.