It is time for Callum Hudson-Odoi to step up for Chelsea after the previous season saw several promising youngsters overtake his starlet status.
After making his Premier League debut in the 2017/18 season under Antonio Conte, many would have thought that ‘CHO’ would be a regular at Stamford Bridge by now.
Since his first game against Bournemouth at 17-years-old, a 0-3 loss at The Vitality, he has only made 33 more appearances in the topflight. The number 20 has scored one goal and chipped in with six assists during this time.
Yet to meet expectations
Playing 11 games a season since his debut, on average, he has yet failed to hit the heights of what was expected when he broke onto the scene. Even Bayern Munich were desperate to land his signature before he signed a long-term contract in West London back in 2019.
The Cobham youth prospect was one of England’s hottest properties once upon a time. The likes of Mason Greenwood, Phil Foden and Jadon Sancho now hold this status.
The latter made the move to Germany from England in 2017 after signing for Dortmund. Hudson-Odoi could have followed him to Western Europe but decided against Munich.
The Dortmund number seven has proven himself as one of the best players in European football at just 20-years-old. His England counterpart must step up and show his capabilities if he wants to be known as one of the best in his position.
The two previous seasons have been hard for the winger. A long term Achilies injury in 2019 meant he missed a year of football. When he returned, he was caught up in an alleged rape scandal, as well as catching Coronavirus in the pandemic. Two obstacles he has now been cleared of.
Opportunity to prove himself
The upcoming season will be the first time he is fully fit from the start of the season for a while and with no outside factors affecting his performances on the pitch, now must be his time to be prove his worth on the biggest stage.
In Chelsea’s friendly against Brighton in August, he played a big part in the 1-1 draw at The Amex after grabbing an assist for Timo Werner, his first goal for the club since his move from RB Leipzig.
Playing predominantly on the left-hand side, Frank Lampard utilised him a lot during the friendly on the south coast. Is this a sign of things to come in the new season?
With Willian and Pedro both gone, this has created a space for Hudson-Odoi to exploit. Despite the signings of Hakim Ziyech and Kai Havertz, who can play in that area, the hierarchy at Chelsea are desperate for the winger to be a success at the Bridge.
Lampard’s side kick off their campaign on September 14 against Brighton and Hove Albion. The winger will feature in the game. It could be the start of a new era for him at his boyhood club.