Chelsea’s Callum Hudson-Odoi was hindered by his injury and recovery, but he is now ready to reannounce himself to the club and the world.
Callum Hudson-Odoi has had a very packed career considering he is only 20. After making his debut under Antonio Conte, he was by and far the best player of Maurizio Sarri’s preseason. Despite this, he featured little before January prompting him to submit a transfer request with Bayern Munich sniffing about. The club held firm and ordered Sarri to play him. Unfortunately, just as he was showing the club they were right to back him and Sarri he was wrong to avoid him, the young winger suffered a massive injury that he arguably has only just recently fully recovered from.
Under Frank Lampard, much of Hudson-Odoi’s time has been spent in recovery. Yes, he has been fit for some time but that was the type of injury that lingers long beyond match fitness. But more and more in recent weeks, Hudson-Odoi has been showing that he is recovered from that injury and that he is ready to reannounce himself to the world.
Recent weeks have been filled with statistical graphs showing Hudson-Odoi is almost always statically above almost every player. Sample size is important but that shouldn’t detract fully from his numbers, expected and otherwise. Simply using the eye test shows how much Hudson-Odoi is doing as of late. Whether he plays on the right or the left, he is both a creative and attacking breath of fresh air for the Blues.
There were valid reasons as to why he hasn’t played more. Those reasons have mostly been put to bed now. Whereas Hudson-Odoi started the season as the third or fourth choice winger (depending on how one counts Timo Werner), he now has to be seen as second choice at minimum.
He has improved massively on the defensive end but he has returned to his best on the attacking end as well. Whereas before his injury seemed to slow him down, now he has that speed back with the bonus of the consideration he gained while adapting to the injury. He had to learn how to beat opponents with skill or a pass instead of just his speed and despite that injury being a major setback, it has now proven to be a benefit to him in that way.
But perhaps more than anything is he just looks like a player who cares about every minute he plays. As his teammates largely looked uninterested in some recent games, Hudson-Odoi was playing as though it was his last game. That is a trait intrinsic to many of the academy players but Hudson-Odoi’s time off appears to have internalized the notion even more.
It was a long road to recovery for the young winger. But now he is showing why Bayern Munich, one of the best run clubs in the world, was so eager to obtain his signature. He is showing why Chelsea felt like they had to order the manager to play him rather than risk losing him. And he is showing now that the new signings of Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner will not make him sag his shoulders.
Hudson-Odoi as he was remembered is back, finally. And he is ready to reannounce himself to the world.