Football News

Thomas Tuchel: It’s “unfair” how much Callum Hudson-Odoi has to play wing-back

By Ben Green

Published: 11:41, 26 October 2021

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel admits it is “unfair” how much he asks Callum Hudson-Odoi to fulfil a wing-back role at the club.

With the surfeit of forward-thinking talent at his disposal and only three places up for his grabs in his frontline, Tuchel has had to find innovate ways to solve his attacking quandary, the only major pitfall of his wing-back system: squad rotation.

Mason Mount, Kai Havertz and Romelu Lukaku have been Tuchel’s main attacking triumvirate in the Premier League this season, with the likes of Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech, Christian Pulisic and Hudson-Odoi waiting in the wings.

As such, Tuchel has had deploy Hudson-Odoi in more of a wing-back role to continue his development and not stifle his progress, with the 20-year-old deviating from his normal position as an out-and-out winger to move further back the pitch and take on a more defensive-orientated role.

However, in the recent 7-0 mauling of basement club Norwich City, Hudson-Odoi was deployed further up the pitch in his more natural position, owing to injuries sustained by Werner and Lukaku in the Champions League last week, and he performed with distinction.

The England international was ruthless and cut-throat going forward as Chelsea ripped through Norwich like a hot knife through butter, getting his name on the scoresheet to double the Blues’ advantage.

After the match, Tuchel admitted it has been “unfair” deploying the youngster further back so much during his tenure, though he went on to indicate the positional change has been to challenge Hudson-Odoi and refine his game, making him a more all-round player.

“I think he needs that,” Tuchel said. “For me, he needs that. These guys who are so full of quality hear sometimes a little bit too often how good they are.

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“But you need to prove it, to show it and for the offensive guys it is easy – just reach statistics and deliver assists and goals and this is what he does and what he needs to show.

“We are aware that we are maybe a bit unfair when we ask him to play too often as a right wingback where he cannot show his full potential.

“We are aware of that so it’s always a mix and at the moment we think we have found a way to push him to the limits and this can change from week to week.”

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