Armed with a new contract and a new Achilles tendon, Callum Hudson-Odoi has hardly missed a beat in his return from injury, notching three assists in his first three appearances, including for the opening goal in last night’s 4-1 win over Southampton. And while he’s yet to score in the Premier League — he did get on the scoresheet in the League Cup as well as for the U23s in one of his rehab starts — it’s surely just a matter of time before the 18-year-old is celebrating the first of what is sure to be many more.
“It was definitely a great game for us. We played really well. The start was a bit sloppy by us — we didn’t get the right intensity — but as soon as we got a kick in, everything went well. The four goals show that we are a strong team. We are working really hard in training. I need to be more clinical in front of goal, but apart from that, we took our chances well and we did well.
“Every time I miss an opportunity I go back after the game and evaluate what I could do better next time to score. It was one of those chances where if it was 1-0, it could’ve been a crucial moment, but luckily we took our other chances. I’ve just got to keep learning and keep working hard.”
Sunday’s appearance was Hudson-Odoi’s first Premier League start since rupturing his Achilles in late April against Burnley, almost six months ago. It has been a long and tough road back, despite the injury not actually being as severe as it could’ve been (and as it would be for Ruben Loftus-Cheek just a few weeks later), but Callum has emerged with even greater dedication from it. With his long-term Chelsea future settled as well, conditions are ideal for him to resume his meteoric rise.
“I’m happy for the way I’ve returned. The manager’s done really well with me, pushing me hard in training, working me hard to get back to normal fitness. I think the team, in general, are doing really well. Everyone has the right mentality in how we want to win, to get the points, and we’re just working and working. Obviously, I’m happy for myself to keep impacting and keep contributing to the team.
“It was tough to go through the long rehabilitation. It was 3-4 months that I was out, and it was hard to see your teammates playing and playing. It’s boring! But at the same time, you want to work harder to get back to where you were before the injury. Now I’m just delighted to be back playing and hopefully just keep working harder and harder, trying to get opportunities to score more and assist more for the team as well.”
With four wins on the bounce in all competitions, Chelsea are in good form and with plenty of room yet to improve. The future’s certainly bright, while other results in the Premier League are making a strong top-four push a realistic proposition already as well. In fact, Chelsea are just two points off the defending champions’ pace in second, and that has given the team a solid target to aim for in the near future as well.
“We’re definitely delighted with that. The manager said to us before the game that we’re going to try to push ourselves higher up the table, and we did that today. It’s great for us to be just behind [Manchester City], and now we just gotta push and try to get in front of them!”
-Callum Hudson-Odoi; source: Chelsea TV
It’s too bad we have an international break now to disrupt the team’s rhythm, but hopefully we’ll reconvene on the other side just as strong (and just as healthy). Newcastle United await at the Bridge in two weeks.