Thomas Tuchel admitted after the win over Norwich he has sometimes been ‘tough’ on Callum Hudson-Odoi, demanding more consistency and quality, and the 20-year-old attacker has revealed what the boss asks of him when he takes the pitch.
Hudson-Odoi was excellent against the Canaries. Deployed on the left side of a front three, he scored his first goal of the season with a well-taken finish to put us 2-0 up, and later forced an own goal. It followed a fine assist against Malmo.
Tuchel acknowledged playing Hudson-Odoi as a right wing-back previously has been a ‘bit unfair’ as it is not his preferred position, but he also underlined how important it is keep the youngster grounded so he can reach his evidently very high ceiling.
For Hudson-Odoi, the message he received from Tuchel ahead of the Norwich game was clear and confidence-boosting.
‘It was just to keep putting in the intensity, keep working hard and going forward and being direct – to be myself,’ he revealed.
‘And try and create as many opportunities as possible, try and score. Be decisive in the box. It was good the sort of instructions that he gave to me, playing in that position - to be free, to do what you do, and try and make things happen. It was very influential for me. It was good.’
That said, there have been bumps in the road for Hudson-Odoi since Tuchel’s arrival. At Southampton last season, he was brought on at half-time but then replaced barely 30 minutes later.
‘At the time it was disappointing,’ Callum admitted.
‘You feel like you don’t know what you have done wrong. But you have got to keep your head up, and keep going and keep fighting for your position. That’s what I have done - and you will get more chances.
‘When you are playing, every game you have got to show yourself and show how capable you are of playing,’ he added.
‘You have to show consistency and put in a good performance to show that you are worthy of playing in the team. You have got to prove it to yourself as well, keep on doing your stuff.’
A consistent run in the Chelsea attack is feasible for Hudson-Odoi with Timo Werner and Romelu Lukaku out injured, and more good performances, like the ones he put in against Malmo and Norwich, will increase his chances of returning to the England fold. He was a regular for the Three Lions in 2019 but hasn’t featured since his Achilles injury.
‘The injury was a key factor for me. It took me a while to fully recover from it.
‘But I keep saying it, right now I am feeling better in myself, more confident and more comfortable on the ball. I feel I am back to where I was before the injury.’