A year is a long time in football and Callum Hudson-Odoi’s future could have been a lot different. Last January, it looked like the winger was set to leave the Blues and join Bayern Munich, with Hudson-Odoi becoming disillusioned in west London. The 19‑year‑old winger was almost driven to Bayern by a combination of frustration and impatience – the former caused by the Chelsea manager last season, Maurizio Sarri, who barely played him over the first half of the campaign. Bayern had been confident of closing the deal.
Plenty has happened to him since then. He got a little run in Sarri’s Premier League XI in April, although curiously not before he had made his first England start against Montenegro in Podgorica at the end of March. Then there was the ruptured achilles that finished his season, ruling him out of important fixtures such as the Europa League final against Arsenal and England’s Nations League semi-final against the Netherlands. Hudson-Odoi felt a surge of excitement when Lampard replaced Sarri. Lampard revealed that he had called Hudson-Odoi after he got the job in order to convince him commit his future to the Blues.
Frank Lampard said “Firstly, I’d love him to stay at Chelsea. He needs to be doing everything to get in that team. Is he working hard and is he developing every day in training and trying to improve? I don’t know him that well but I’m sure that’s the standard at Chelsea he’s going by himself. Every minute he gets on the pitch he needs to be doing everything he can. I understand Chelsea fans want to see more of him and he has to do everything he can to give himself the chance of minutes. I think at the end of the season he will look back and think what can I do with my career. It’s a mad one because a young English player at Chelsea at that age then you really want him to sign that long-term contract.”
Callum Hudson-Odoi’signed a five-year contract in September, worth £120,000 a week and he made an impact for Chelsea and regained his place in the England squad. Lampard has been tough, at times, with Hudson-Odoi, seeking to keep him grounded and create the right framework for his free-spiritedness. The manager, who has also blooded Fikayo Tomori, Reece James, Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham from the Chelsea academy this season, was in no mood, for example, to allow Hudson-Odoi to bask in his comeback performance against Grimsby in the Carabao Cup in September, in which he scored and the team won 7-1. Instead, Lampard laid into him at half-time for failing to run in behind the opposition defenders.
And now Antonio Rudiger has admitted that he also had a few words for the youngster in order to get him to stick around in west London.
Antonio Rudiger said “Of course he asked me about FC Bayern back [last season]. I told him it was a great club. But the transfer ban and the departure of Eden Hazard – which we had been expecting for a long time – made it clear that he would get more appearances.”
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