Callum Hudson-Odoi has been back in action just over a month after his recovery from the Achilles injury that curtailed last season. He has spoken about his return to action.
The 18-year-old’s comeback game was against Grimsby in the Carabao Cup and since then he has featured in seven further matches, winning them all until Wednesday’s cup exit against Manchester United. It is quite a different Chelsea team compared with the one he broke into last season before his set-back in April, not least the amount of fellow Academy graduates now around him.‘It’s an amazing feeling,’ Hudson-Odoi said. ‘After my first game back after injury I was so happy to be back on the pitch, but at the same time so happy to play alongside them. We have all come through the Academy, it’s a dream for us, and it’s an amazing feeling to be around them and playing with them, and hopefully that continues.
‘It’s really satisfying for the young players to be playing in the team because we all dreamed of it as kids. It’s a really good feeling to be getting opportunities to play, and we are all delighted.
‘We are always trying to fight for a top-four finish. We always want to contest for the Premier League trophy. We will be trying our best to get in the top four, and hopefully we can end this year with a trophy.
‘I’m delighted with how I have come back,’ he added, ‘especially after a long injury. I want to keep improving. I want to try and get more goals and assists for the team, contribute on and off the ball.
‘The fans have been amazing for me. As soon as I had the opportunity to play in the team they had my back. When I hear chants and stuff it’s an amazing feeling. We put a video out there to show how my recovery was, and for the fans to be so happy for me to come back is a great feeling for me.’
There are of course more senior players still here and two who share similar roles on the pitch are given a special mention.
‘Pedro and Willian have been influential from the first minute I got in. I have watched everything they do in training and in games because they play the same position I do. Watching them is a big motivation for me to try and do what they’re doing in terms of winning trophies, getting a lot of goals and assists for the team.
‘It’s a big feeling to see players who have done so well for the club still going, I’m really happy for them.
‘We have positive energy whenever we go out on the pitch, whether it’s training or a match,’ he continues when considering the overall mood in the camp.
‘We’re always smiling, there’s never any negativity around. We want to make sure we have the belief and the hunger to go out and win games. If we have a setback and lose a game, we still come back smiling, knowing we need to work harder to try and get the result next time.’
The other major change for Hudson-Odoi is the manager with Frank Lampard having taken over from Maurizio Sarri in the summer.
‘He [Lampard] is very hungry for the game; he doesn’t like losing,’ is the young player’s observation. ‘When I was going to games and watching him, you could always hear him shouting and screaming to motivate the players.
‘Now as a manager he is doing really well. He has had the belief since he got here we could do something big. When we are doing drills he still gets involved. He’s still got it! He likes to do the shooting drills with us, crossing and finishing. He helps every player get better in their position. It’s great to have a manager who wants you to do the best for yourself.
‘For a manager to get involved and help us is a massive feeling. If you need something from him, you can ask him definitely because he will help.’
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