If there were any doubts left about Callum Hudson-Odoi’s ability to make an impact in senior professional football at the tender age of 18, his match-winning performance against Nottingham Forest on Saturday should have put them to rest. His two second-half assists were of good enough quality that not even Álvaro Morata could miss finishing them!
It’s apparently the first time in 11 years that a Chelsea teenager collected two assists in a single competitive fixture. Sinclair, like Hudson-Odoi, did it against Championship opposition.
2 - Callum Hudson-Odoi is the first teenager to assist two goals in a single competitive fixture for Chelsea since Scott Sinclair versus Leicester in October 2007 (League Cup). Sparkling. pic.twitter.com/LBOVauSKwW— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 5, 2019
Scott Sinclair didn’t exactly kick-on at Chelsea after that performance, trying his luck on a few loans before transferring to Swansea City two years later. He would end up at Manchester City briefly, but has only found consistent playing time and success at Celtic, where he’s featured in a starring role since 2016. The now almost 30-year-old Sinclair can serve as a cautionary tale, for the club, the fans, and Callum himself, about expectations, patience, and opportunities, although every single case of player development tends to play out in its own unique fashion.
For now, Hudson-Odoi is saying all the right things, even as exit rumors continue to swirl and he appears no closer to signing his contract extension.
“I’ve just got to be patient and keep working hard, no matter what. I’ve got to keep pushing in training. The injuries are unfortunate. For me I’ve got to keep working hard and hopefully my chances will come.”
-Callum Hudson-Odoi; source: Chelsea TV via Evening Standard
One would like to think that Hudson-Odoi would be getting his chances even without injuries to the likes of Willian and Pedro, but the reality of these sorts of situations is that it’s often an injury that gives the needed opportunity to a young player. Whether that continues to be the case or not remains to be seen, but Chelsea certainly have plenty of fixtures to choose from in, at least for now, four different competitions.
The 18-year-old was certainly happy to get the start and make a telling impact on Saturday.
“I feel really proud to get an opportunity to play and just to help the team get the win we deserved. I think we played really well and our mentality was strong. Alvaro did really well getting his goals and we all worked hard as a team. We deserved the win
“[Sticking to the game plan] is the only way. If we don’t score, we keep going again and keep pushing until we do get the goal. I think the way we played today, we showed the desire to keep pushing and pushing. We know that if we keep making chances the goal will come so we’ve just got to patient sometimes, keep going and, luckily it came together today.”
-Callum Hudson-Odoi; source: Chelsea FC
Hudson-Odoi is now up to seven appearances, including the Community Shield (400 minutes), during which he’s contributed with a goal and three assists. For what it’s worth, that’s almost exactly where Scott Sinclair was in 2007 before he was shoved out on his series of loans and eventually the exit door.
A temporary move is probably not in Callum’s future. But whether his next starring opportunity comes for Chelsea or Bayern Munich unfortunately still remains to be seen.