Ross Barkley was not at all surprised to see his young Chelsea team-mate Callum Hudson-Odoi handed his first England start in the big win over Montenegro on Monday night, with 18-year-old going on to do so well.
It was a good game too for Barkley who netted the Three Lions’ second and third goals which put them in control of the Euro 2020 qualifier having gone a goal down. He also supplied the free-kick delivery from which his side levelled the scores through Michael Keane, and it was Hudson-Odoi’s ball towards the target that Barkley turned in for his first goal. The final score was 5-1.
‘From minute one in the training sessions while he [Hudson-Odoi] has been here [with England] he was been top drawer,’ reported Barkley. ‘A few of the lads have been saying how good he looks and he fully deserved the start from how he has performed in training all week.’
As has been well-reported, Hudson-Odoi is the second youngest starter for England in a competitive fixture, Wayne Rooney to only player more youthful. Having come on as a sub in the previous international when he also caught the eye, the Chelsea winger brought plenty of attacking impetus to the team display on his full debut. All the more impressive was the fact he had to recover from an error in the build-up to Montenegro taking the lead.
‘I reacted slowly to the ball, I made a mistake but you always have to react positively to it no matter what,’ explained Hudson-Odoi. ‘You have to be confident in what you are doing. If you make a mistake you have to keep going.
‘We did very well, we had great mentality from the start. Going a goal down was a disappointment but we reacted strongly and well done to Ross for getting the two goals.’
Barkley agreed it had been his best game in an England shirt.
‘For sure, a great night for me and great result coming away from home. Montenegro were always going to put up a test for us and they started really well, but we showed character in getting back and it was a positive performance.’