Callum Hudson-Odoi spoke at length about finally leaving Chelsea on loan, including which Blues player urged him to leave and Todd Boehly’s powerplay.
The 21-year-old winger has not developed as many expected at Stamford Bridge. Hudson-Odoi made his Chelsea debut as a 17-year-old when appearing in an FA Cup clash with Newcastle in January, 2018.
His first senior England cap quickly followed in 2019, but since that time he has struggled to nail down a regular place at Chelsea.
He has racked up 126 first-team appearances over the years, though a sizeable chunk of those have come from the bench.
What’s more, under previous manager Thomas Tuchel, Hudson-Odoi was often deployed out of position as a wing-back.
All that combined has led to repeated links with a move to Germany. Both Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund lodged offers over the years, but it was Bayer Leverkusen who secured the coup upon agreeing a one-year loan on August 30.
Hudson-Odoi has featured regularly since making the switch and has been utilised exclusively in the final third. Indeed, of his five appearances so far, three have been on the left wing and two at No 10.
Now, speaking in an interview with the Daily Mail, Hudson-Odoi revealed the precise moment he knew he must leave Chelsea this summer.
“What am I doing wrong?” – Hudson-Odoi
The forward was a notable absentee from Tuchel’s opening day squad to face Everton. Hudson-Odoi was fit and raring to go, but was simply overlooked by the German.
He said: “It was one of those difficult moments when you look at yourself and say, ‘What am I doing wrong? Have I done anything wrong to not even be in the squad?’
“I would never say anything bad about Thomas, he was a good guy, a good manager. [But] the first game of the season, it was frustrating. Any footballer that isn’t in the squad would understand how frustrating it is.
“Regular football gives you consistency and the more games you play, the more consistent you become, the more form starts to kick in.
“You feel fresher, you feel better, you feel like… not that you’re getting treated fairly but that you’ve got the trust from the manager to push you and kick you on.
“You don’t want to be on the bench thinking, ‘Why am I not playing?’ And then it becomes weeks and weeks and the legs are rusty when you do play.
“The most important thing is consistent football. That’s what I’m getting here and it’s making me feel better.
“Right now, playing games, momentum is kicking on and you feel refreshed: new country, brand-new experience.
“It’s definitely refreshing to know I get an opportunity to play games week in, week out, enjoying it and smiling!”
Havertz influence, Boehly intervention
The Bundesliga has proved an excellent destination for English talent to develop their game in recent times.
Jadon Sancho became a superstar at Dortmund. Jude Bellingham is now valued over the £100m mark through his displays in black and yellow.
Hudson-Odoi will hope to benefit from the excellent coaching and extra game-time he’ll receive. He also revealed Chelsea teammate Kai Havertz encouraged him to make the switch.
Havertz excelled at Leverkusen before joining Chelsea and gave his former side a ringing endorsement.
“Kai had only great things to say,” he added. “‘I developed really well here, they pushed me on, they made me a better player, who I am today’.
“He was urging me to come: ‘Go and develop yourself, go and be you, be free. We know what you can do. Just go and show it consistently’.”
Finally Hudson-Odoi addressed what his long-term future may look like.
Modern day loan deals often have an option to buy inserted. However, the winger revealed part-Blues owner, Todd Boehly, insisted no such clause be included.
Hudson-Odoi claimed Boehly has placed his faith in him and all the signs now point towards a refreshed and rejuvenated attacker being back at Stamford Bridge for good next season.
“It’s definitely different,” added Hudson-Odoi. “When a club is trying to get a player [on loan], they always want that option to buy at the end of the season. Todd was saying: ‘Listen, we want you back here.’
“You’re still on the radar of being wanted by the club. The way he’s trying to set it up, there are a lot of young players he’s trying to buy for the next few years.
“It shows he wants to integrate the players into the team and help them develop.”
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