Chelsea’s Callum Hudson-Odoi was the sub that got subbed under Thomas Tuchel… but with a full pre-season ahead of him and his desire to stay at Stamford Bridge, it’s NOW time for him to emerge from the shadows
- Callum Hudson-Odoi wants to stay at Chelsea despite Bayern Munich’s interest
- The 20-year-old played a bit-part role at the Blues towards the end of last season
- However, he now has an opportunity to seize a starting XI spot with many team-mates still away after prolonged campaigns due to international commitments
- Thomas Tuchel will have a full pre-season to look at the talented winger
For a third pre-season in a row, there are questions surrounding Callum Hudson-Odoi’s future. And for a third pre-season in a row the answer isn’t any different: to remain at Chelsea.
However, unlike the previous two summers; this stance appears to be taken up more by the player rather than the club this year.
Hudson-Odoi finished last term as a Champions League winner but the campaign itself was a mixed one under manager Thomas Tuchel.
Callum Hudson-Odoi (right) hopes to hit the ground running with Chelsea this pre-season
He is a long-term target of Bayern Munich’s but he wants to stay and fight for his Chelsea place
Hudson-Odoi ended last season as a Champions League winner – but didn’t play in the final
But now following a summer break, the forward appears to have the bit between his teeth as he looks to establish himself as a first-team regular.
This pre-season could prove pivotal in achieving that and the 20-year-old recognises this is an opportunity to seize the moment.
As reported, he has rejected the advances of long-term admirers Bayern Munich and is keen to fight for his place at Stamford Bridge.
The England international’s stance is a major blow to Bayern, who have been long-term admirers and had hoped to construct a deal around a swap for Kingsley Coman.
Bayern would have been encouraged by Hudson-Odoi’s lack of playing time in west London towards the business end of last season.
He started the first three games under Tuchel, following the German’s appointment as manager in late January, and went on to feature 13 times in his first two months at the helm (January 27-March 21).
The forward found regular starts hard to come by under Thomas Tuchel (right) last season
He played in 13 games in Tuchel’s first two months in charge and then just five in the latter two
However, this contrasted greatly with the following two months as he only made five appearances, totalling 172 minutes, in the Blues’ final 16 games of the season.
Hudson-Odoi was an unused substitute during their 1-0 Champions League final win over Manchester City in May but by all accounts he has come back to pre-season with the mentality of a champion.
Hudson-Odoi was only one of three Chelsea players – alongside Tammy Abraham and Tino Anjorin – to return when their pre-season began on July 9.
With several first-team stars on a delayed holiday due to various commitments at the European Championship or Copa America, the forward has the opportunity to impress Tuchel and play a key role in their pre-season preparations.
Tino Anjorin (left), Tammy Abraham (centre) and Hudson-Odoi were the only three Chelsea players who reported for the first day of pre-season training on July 9
Tuchel alluded to this on July 9 when Hudson-Odoi, Abraham and Anjorin reported for training. After embracing the trio, the German remarked that there are currently 18 coaches and three players at their Cobham base.
He then, in a light-hearted manner, singled out Hudson Odoi as he remarked: ‘It’s very good for Callum Hudson-Odoi. There’s no more hiding. Hiding is over.’
This exchange highlighted the good relationship between the pair. Rewind to five months ago though and there were fears that this wasn’t the case though.
On February 20, the forward was brought on at half-time of their Premier League 1-1 draw at Southampton. However he lasted just 31 minutes before he was hooked by Tuchel.
Upon his return to training, Tuchel joked to the forward: ‘There’s no more hiding. Hiding is over’
The pair then enjoyed a light-hearted embrace as Tuchel looks to get the best out of his starlet
Speaking post-match, the German was quite brutal in his reasoning behind the decision.
‘No, it was not injury-related,’ he said. ‘I was not happy with his attitude, energy and counter-pressing.’
His attitude appears to be spot on this pre-season with the forward putting in the extras during his holiday in Ghana.
‘I’ve been running and doing a lot of gym work,’ he told Abraham ahead of their first on-the-pitch session.
Hudson-Odoi came on as a sub and was duly replaced as one in a 1-1 draw at Southampton
Speaking about that February 20 display, Tuchel hooked him as he ‘was not happy’ with him
For the first time in three years, the Blues No 20 is coming into a pre-season campaign fully-fit having had a summer to relax.
He played the first half of Chelsea’s 6-1 training ground friendly win against Peterborough on Saturday and his involvement will only grow in the forthcoming fixtures against Bournemouth, Arsenal and Tottenham.
Last season Mason Mount, Kai Havertz, Timo Werner, Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech were preferred in the wider attacking berths to Hudson-Odoi, while Reece James and Cesar Azpilicueta were at right-wing back.
With the majority of those not back at Chelsea until later on, now is Hudson-Odoi’s prime chance to pencil his name on the teamsheet for the UEFA Super Cup clash against Villarreal on August 11, their Premier League curtain-raiser at home to Crystal Palace on August 14 and beyond.
Or as Tuchel would say: ‘There’s no more hiding. Hiding is over.’
Hudson-Odoi returned to pre-season focused and put in the work during a holiday to Ghana
Now he hopes to make the most of this pre-season and become a regular in Tuchel’s starting XI
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