After starting for the second pre-season game in succession, and impressing once again, Callum Hudson-Odoi says he is really enjoying playing for Maurizio Sarri.
The 17-year-old was selected against Perth Glory on Monday and responded by setting up the only goal of the game for Pedro. Last night in Nice, against Inter Milan, the youngster retained his place on the left of the front three and produced another fine display.
Understandably right now Hudson-Odoi is full of belief, as he explains.
‘The fact the manager is giving me the opportunity to play is really boosting my confidence so I just want to keep getting on the ball, pressing and working hard,’ he says.
‘The more games I play, hopefully the more I will be able to impress him as well. Getting the opportunities is obviously a good thing so I just need to keep going. I’ve definitely liked working under Maurizio. The way he plays suits the way I play because I like to get on the ball a lot, go forward and keep attacking, I either stay in the pockets or stay wide.
‘With the way the team are playing, being on the left wing is very good because you get to drive at the defenders one against one or cut inside and combine. You just play with a free mind and play how you can play, but also off the ball we press to try and win the ball high up the pitch, so we defend from the halfway line and obviously attack from there. I like playing under him.’
Hudson-Odoi went on to explain how the work he is being asked to do right now compares to last season, when he was mostly with junior sides.
‘Last season in the Academy we worked more on different shapes so we would change shape all the time,’ he recalls.
‘At the moment we’re playing with one shape and it’s working well for us as long as we keep pressing and keep getting on the ball and working hard. It’s different off the ball, but on the ball it’s the same, it’s just about doing your stuff and trying to create opportunities or score.’
There was a step up in quality in terms of the opposition we faced last night, with Inter Milan fielding a strong side from the start of the game. That didn’t seem to faze Hudson-Odoi, however, who caused the Italian side problems with his electric pace and could have scored in the first half at the end of a flowing team move.
‘I didn’t connect properly but it’s just about getting in the box and trying to get assists and goals, trying to be more ruthless and hungry,’ he says.
‘I think the game went really well. We got the result we wanted because obviously we were there to win, but I felt we put in a good shift and the tactics the boss gave us were really good and worked very well. There’s always room for improvement but I think the team did well. I thought my performance was good but, again, I have to keep on improving and working hard.
‘No matter who the opposition are it’s always good to test yourself, but especially against a team like Inter Milan, who are a very tough opponent. Now we just have to keep going and hopefully we can get a good result against Arsenal on Wednesday.’