Football News

Southgate admits initial doubts over quality of Chelsea teen Hudson-Odoi

By William Eldridge

Published: 18:07, 24 March 2019

England manager Gareth Southgate has admitted that he previously had doubts over the ability of Chelsea youngster Callum Hudson-Odoi.

Hudson-Odoi is currently training with the Three Lions squad as they prepare to take on Montenegro in tomorrow’s Euro 2020 Group A qualifier, having made his debut during Friday’s demolition of the Czech Republic.

How good is Hudson-Odoi? Five things you need to know…

  1. Hudson-Odoi has made 19 appearances for Chelsea this season, scoring five goals.
  2. The 18-year-old had attracted the attention of Bayern Munich who made several bids for the Englishman in January.
  3. Despite handing in a transfer request at Chelsea in a bid for first-team football, the teenager remains highly regarded in west London.
  4. Injuries led to Hudson-Odoi getting an England call-up by Southgate, who gave him his debut against the Czech Republic on Friday.
  5. Hudson-Odoi could potentially start in Monday night’s fixture away to Montenegro.

Southgate has admitted initial doubts about Hudson Odoi’s ability to step up to senior level – but believes the Chelsea midfielder has already put them to bed.

“We weren’t certain he’d be able to adapt to this level, and we’re a bit fortunate in finding him – in that we probably wouldn’t have done that in this camp, we’d have given him a bit longer in the under-21s,” Southgate told the Guardian.

“But already he’s proved in this environment that he can more than cope.

“He’s a very confident boy, he has the maturity and this is going to be a fantastic week for him. I’m really pleased that he’s shown people what he’s showed us all week in training.”

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Hazard departs, Hudson-Odoi starts?

The Chelsea winger has struggled to break into Maurizio Sarri’s starting line-up this season, making just six Premier League appearances.

However, he has impressed in the Europa League where Chelsea have reached the quarter-finals of the competition, with Hudson-Odoi scoring four goals and assisting twice.

Despite his young age, it is understandable that he could grow to be frustrated with the lack of playing time he has had this season, especially when compared to other young English talents such as Jadon Sancho, Declan Rice and Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

Whether he gets that opportunity at Chelsea remains to be seen. His future at the club may depend on whether the Blues see Belgian superstar Eden Hazard depart Stamford Bridge this summer, allowing space for Hudson-Odoi to step-up and showcase his talents on a regular basis.

If Real Madrid are able to get Hazard to join them in Spain, then it could mean good things for both Hudson-Odoi and England.