With Chelsea’s return to competitive action just days away, here’s a look at how two of the youngest members of our squad have been doing this season.
Callum Hudson-Odoi and Billy Gilmour have both needed to be patient while waiting for their chances over the course of the campaign, but have shown promising signs of their potential when given the opportunity…
Callum Hudson-Odoi: 25 appearances (13 as a sub), three goals, five assists
‘He can show, right here at Chelsea, the club where he came through the Academy, that he is going to be a world-class player. I truly believe that. I see him being a huge player for us.’
Callum Hudson-Odoi returned from injury to pick up where he left off last season, continuing his education in first-team football under Frank Lampard and providing an energetic and youthful option in attack, often from the bench.
Hudson-Odoi’s campaign started late as he recovered from the Achilles injury he suffered last season, but after easing back into the action with our development squad and signing a new contract, he made an impressive return to first-team duties.
After finding the net on his first appearance of 2019/20, completing the scoring in the emphatic 7-1 victory over Grimsby Town in the Carabao Cup at the end of September, Hudson-Odoi came on as a substitute to set up Willian for our second goal in the 2-0 Premier League win against Brighton three days later.
That earned the winger a starting spot for our next two league matches, providing further assists for Tammy Abraham and Marcos Alonso to score important goals in each of them, as we beat Southampton and Newcastle.
‘I’m delighted with how I have come back,’ he said, ‘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.’
Biding his time
He had to be content with mainly appearing as a substitute when Lampard preferred experienced heads as we entered the winter months, but another knockout fixture handed Hudson-Odoi his chance.
It took him just six minutes to open the scoring in our FA Cup third-round tie with Nottingham Forest at the start of January, and he repeated the trick when he kept his place in the team for the following Premier League fixture against Burnley, getting our third goal of a 3-0 win shortly after half-time.
That saw him handed another run in the side, but it came to an abrupt end at the start of February due to a hamstring injury, and the season was interrupted before his return.
Billy Gilmour: Seven appearances (three as a sub)
‘I have absolute trust in Billy. If he’s small in statue he’s huge in personality, and he’s also huge in talent. He does all the right things, and he’s humble.’
Frank Lampard was clearly impressed by Billy Gilmour’s potential early in the season, although it took a little longer for the rest of us to really see what he was capable of.
Having been an unused substitute in the UEFA Super Cup, he was handed his senior debut off the bench late on in our Premier League draw with Sheffield United at the end of August, soon followed by a long-term contract for the midfielder.
We were given a better idea of what he could bring to the team when he started our two Carabao Cup ties, the second of those against Manchester United still being the only defeat he has suffered in a Chelsea shirt.
Although there were a couple more substitute appearances from Gilmour in the meanwhile, it was in March that the Scottish teenager properly announced his arrival on the big stage, after being added to the first-team squad on a permanent basis.
With several senior players missing through injury or suspension, six days brought Gilmour’s first starts in the FA Cup and Premier League, both memorable victories, and the midfielder picked up the Man of the Match awards in each of them.
There were no hints of nerves as he put in two mature performances, despite still being a couple of weeks short of his 19th birthday, playing a central role as we knocked Premier League leaders Liverpool out of the FA Cup 2-0 and then recorded our biggest league victory of the season, 4-0 against Everton in our last game before the season was suspended.
Callum Hudson-Odoi vs Billy Gilmour Premier League 2019/20 player comparison
Click here to read the other editions of our Season So Far player review series.
Callum Hudson-Odoi stats
Callum Hudson-Odoi Premier League appearances 2019/20
Hudson-Odoi has played 17 times in the Premier League for Chelsea this season, 10 of those off the bench.
Callum Hudson-Odoi Champions League appearances 2019/20
Hudson-Odoi has featured four times in our Champions League campaign, three of them as a substitute.
Callum Hudson-Odoi FA Cup appearances 2019/20
Hudson-Odoi has played twice in the FA Cup this season.
Callum Hudson-Odoi League Cup appearances 2019/20
Hudson-Odoi featured in both our Carabao Cup ties, playing every minute in the competition.
Callum Hudson-Odoi goals 2019/20
Hudson-Odoi has scored three goals this season, one in each of the Premier League, FA Cup and Carabao Cup.
Billy Gilmour stats
Billy Gilmour Premier League appearances 2019/20
Gilmour has played three times in the Premier League for Chelsea this season, twice as a substitute.
Billy Gilmour Champions League appearances 2019/20
Gilmour has not yet featured in our Champions League campaign, being an unused substitute on three occasions.
Billy Gilmour FA Cup appearances 2019/20
Gilmour has played once in the FA Cup this season, the victory over Liverpool in the fifth round.
Billy Gilmour League Cup appearances 2019/20
Gilmour started both our Carabao Cup matches this season.
Billy Gilmour goals 2019/20
Gilmour has not yet scored for Chelsea this season.