The weekend started promisingly for Chelsea fans with the sight of Callum Hudson-Odoi and Reece James back in action for the first time this season at Stamford Bridge on Friday night.
The young duo started our development squad’s 2-1 win over Brighton in Premier League 2, with James completing 45 minutes at right-back and Hudson-Odoi an hour on the left flank. Goals from Henry Lawrence and Marcel Lewis secured victory for Andy Myers’s side, who remain unbeaten and top of the PL2 table.
After the game, our Academy graduates provided an update on the latest in their comeback from Achilles (Hudson-Odoi) and ankle (James) injuries.
‘I felt great,’ reported Hudson-Odoi. ‘It’s good to be back at the Bridge and to play in front of a good crowd because it was a decent turnout.
‘I don’t feel any pain at the moment, no problems when I run with the ball so everything is good. My whole body feels good and now it’s about getting more match fitness, which comes from playing in games like this.’
James revealed he had recently suffered a frustrating obstacle in his own comeback but was remaining focused on improving every day.
‘It was getting better and then I had a little setback so I had to stay strong and keep moving forward to get back out on the pitch as soon as I could,’ he said.
‘It was always the plan [to play 45 minutes] because obviously I’ve been out for a long time so I’m just getting back into the swing of things and we’ll take things from here.’
There is much excitement about the return of the teenage pair, plus Ruben Loftus-Cheek, and Hudson-Odoi spoke of his delight at seeing his Academy contemporaries make such a positive impression with the senior side.
‘It’s great for the Academy,’ added the 18-year-old. ‘We’ve always worked hard to get to this position and we’re all grateful so we just have to keep working and keep getting as many opportunities as possible.’