90min
Chelsea

Callum Hudson-Odoi can be a problem for the Premier League on the left wing

Tom Gott
Callum Hudson-Odoi has hit another level
Callum Hudson-Odoi has hit another level / Alex Burstow/Getty Images
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This summer is a big one for a lot of Chelsea players, but you get the feeling that nobody feels as though they have something to prove as much as winger Callum Hudson-Odoi.

The wonderkid youngster on skyscraper wages, Hudson-Odoi is yet to really make that next step in his career, with a combination of poor form and a nasty Achilles injury curtailing any momentum he tried to build up.

Callum Hudson-Odoi
Hudson-Odoi had struggled to convince Thomas Tuchel / Pierre-Philippe Marcou - Pool/Getty Images

Those struggles have led to suggestions that Hudson-Odoi could be sold this summer, and to paraphrase the great Michael Jordan, he looks like he took that personally.

Returning to pre-season earlier than anyone else in the Chelsea squad, Hudson-Odoi has had a lot of one-to-one time with Thomas Tuchel already this summer, and the extra fitness that comes with his early return means he has had more game time as well.

Playing more than anyone else in the squad, Hudson-Odoi has had the minutes he needed to prove himself to Tuchel, and the boss will be absolutely delighted with what he has seen from the Englishman so far.

Interestingly, Hudson-Odoi isn't doing much different to last year. He does seem to have an extra yard of pace and some extra swagger, but his game is still focused on charging up the wing and burning defenders.

The important thing about this summer, however, is that he's been doing it on the left wing.

Back on the wing in which he made his name in the academy, Hudson-Odoi has looked like an absolute animal. In the latest friendly, a 2-1 win over Arsenal, he completely terrorised Calum Chambers and dummied his way past Pablo Mari with terrifying ease.

Using his stronger right foot, Hudson-Odoi almost drags the ball forward and encourages defenders to bite, at which point he will scoop the ball around and fly towards the box before the opponent has even picked themselves up.

When deployed on the left, Hudson-Odoi clearly feels unleashed. That swagger comes from confidence in his own ability, and when he is humiliating fellow professionals with his skills, can you blame him for feeling himself?

Tuchel simply has to use the 20-year-old on the left from this point on. It's a role in which Timo Werner has spent a lot of time, but the German is nowhere near as dynamic as Hudson-Odoi. If you want your forwards to create chances, you've got to go with the latter.

A good chat with Tuchel in pre-season looks to have revitalised Hudson-Odoi. The pair now know better what they expect from one another, and the results are already starting to show.

Premier League defenders will already be having nightmares about the idea of facing him, but if Hudson-Odoi can add some more reliability with his end product, it could be game over.


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