Callum Hudson-Odoi has given his first interview since his return to feeling normal following his infection with the COVID-19 virus. He talks about his symptoms, keeping fit since then, the importance of everyone trying to stay well, and looking further ahead the postponement of the Euros. He also has a message for Chelsea fans.
Last month the 19-year-old joined Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta in being the first figures from Premier League clubs to make the news due to testing positive for the coronavirus. As a result, there was a period of self-isolation for Hudson-Odoi as well as team-mates and staff at Chelsea.
He subsequently used social media to reassure supporters he was making good progress in his recovery from what fortunately was a relatively minor reaction, which was also confirmed by Frank Lampard when he spoke generally about the pandemic and also in a recent Ask Frank feature on The 5th Stand app.
Now Hudson-Odoi has spoken at length in a FaceTime interview with Chelsea TV which can be viewed above.
Naturally, the first question the young winger is asked is how he is now.
‘I am feeling perfect,’ he responds. ‘I had the virus which has cleared now. I fully feel good, I feel fit, so I am feeling back to myself so it is all good.
‘I had it [the illness] three weeks ago now I think, on a Monday when I felt a bit hot and I was thinking this is a bit unusual, why do I feel this hot. The next day I was feeling back to normal. I thought it was just a minor temperature thing, but obviously it wasn’t. I said to myself this wasn’t actually that bad, the symptoms, and I said to myself I feel good, I feel better.’
Fortunately, although in isolation, with modern technology that did not mean being out of touch. There were plenty of messages exchanged with his team-mates, plus group chats.
‘Everyone has been asking me how I have been which has been class from them,’ he notes. ‘They have been showing me support and saying Cal, get well soon, I hope you are okay now. It has been very warming and a good feeling to know you have got your team-mates behind you, backing you and making sure you are feeling well and encouraging you.’
‘I would like to say to them thank you for all the support that you have shown.'
— Callum Hudson-Odoi to his fans
Hudson-Odoi, as someone who has been following medical direction, emphasises the Stay Home, Save Lives message for self-isolation by highlighting the need to be careful and his wish that everyone does stay safe and well.
‘Everything is happening so fast and I did not know this virus would be such a major thing and so big in the world and affect so many people,’ he says about what has happened since his diagnosis.
‘Everyone has to be careful and judge things how they go and hopefully the virus will go soon and everyone will be back to normal.
‘I want the football to come back as soon as possible, I’d want it to come back today if it could but this thing [pandemic] is growing and it is going to keep growing so the thing is we want everyone to stay safe and stay well. We want to be out there playing football and we want to enjoy what we are doing and we want the fans to be enjoying everything with us.’
So with the season suspended, it is currently a case of maintaining good fitness for the player and his colleagues. He is following a programme sent to him by the club and has been doing gym work at home plus running around a park. He has also been able to recover from the hamstring injury that troubled him in the previous two months.
One development as a result of the domestic calendar being called to a halt is the postponement of Euro 2020 by a year. Hudson-Odoi acknowledges that gives him a target.
‘For me it is an opportunity to show again and keep pushing myself to the max to hopefully have an opportunity to go to the Euros. The Euros is a massive thing and I have big belief in myself and hopefully I will be able to get into the team. I just want to make sure that I keep pushing myself every game and every minute and making sure that I keep trying to score goals and make assists and keep trying to help the team as much as possible to get what we want, which is a trophy at the end of the day.’
The interview concludes with that message for the Chelsea fans.
‘I would like to say to them thank you for all the support that you have shown. They have been so encouraging and making sure that I have been okay. Thank you for that but also, I can’t wait to be back playing on that pitch again. I am fully fit, I am feeling great, I am feeling perfect. I have no injuries so right now I can’t wait to be back on the pitch and showing again what I am capable of.’