Despite having an up and down last 12 months at Stamford Bridge that included transfer speculation, serious injuries and contracting the Coronavirus, Callum Hudson-Odoi is now settled at his boyhood club after Frank Lampard’s arrival in the summer of 2019.
Catching the global pandemic in March 2020 was the latest hurdle that the teenager has already had to face but overcoming the virus and completing regular home workouts is another example of the dedication and drive that he must succeed at the Bridge.
After last season's breakthrough into the first team, Hudson-Odoi sustained an Achilles injury against Burnley, which was a year ago this week. Despite the horror injury, He still racked up 24 appearances for club and country, including an England debut.
Back with a bang
Hudson-Odoi returned to the side in September, ahead of schedule. Grabbing a goal in a 7-1 thrashing over Grimsby would’ve helped the confidence of the teenager.
It seemed like the winger was back up and running when he played six straight games for Chelsea. Picking up a hamstring injury against Leicester concluded another spell on the side-lines.
With the global pandemic halting the football season, Hudson-Odoi has returned to full fitness and is rearing to go once the football season gets back underway, whenever that maybe.
The number 20 stated: “I’m feeling perfect, I feel fit and good, I am feeling back to my usual self so it’s all good.”
This will be music to the ears of Chelsea fans, as the potential of the winger is evident whenever he steps out on the turf in front of the Blues faithful.
Big fan of Frank
Being at Chelsea for most of his life has meant he has witnessed Frank Lampard from both sides, on the pitch and in the dug-out. Watching his manager endure a play-off final at Derby County last season gave positive signs, along with watching academy mates, Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori who went on loan to The Rams.
“I always thought that he would be a good manager, the way he used to lead on the pitch made that evident”, Hudson-Odoi said. “Lampard always demanded a lot from the players.”
This time 12 months ago, The rumour of Lampard to Chelsea was starting to echo around the footballing world due to the positive football and the flurry of youngsters in his armoury, including the two Chelsea boys, Liverpool’s Harry Wilson (who finished top goal scorer) and Derby’s own academy graduate, Jayden Bogle, who lead the assists table for the east Midlands side.
“Having an ex-player in charge of your club is amazing”, Hudson-Odoi admitted. "He’s a legend that has come back to the club and now we’re working under him. Every day we keep wanting to improve and he knows all about becoming a top player so it's important to learn under him, maybe even become a Chelsea legend one day yourself.”
Great bond between academy and first team
It’s not only Lampard that Hudson-Odoi and other Cobham graduates are used to seeing around the place at the training ground. Jody Morris and Joe Edwards coached the teenager previously in the youth days. This helps the likes of Hudson-Odoi, who admitted: “Jody has a great bond with the academy, he knows all the players and staff.”
Morris has had a very successful time at Chelsea Under-18's, winning seven trophies in two years is evidence of the potential coaching ability he has to offer.
The winger said: “He knows when the players are ready to make the step to the first team, he has helped bring through all the players and he has made it very aware when you’re doing well.”
As long as Lampard and Morris are in charge of Chelsea, the addition of youngsters into the first team will be portrayed, as Hudson-Odoi confirmed the latter: “[Lampard] wants you to play as much as possible, he will always try and push the young players to reach the top.”
After previously making appearances in the UEFA Youth League, a few years later and the 19-year old made his debut in the Champions League in a victory against Lille in the group stages.
“The Champions League music gives you a buzz, it’s the emotion of such a massive competition.”