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Callum Hudson-Odoi and Reece James to play in Chelsea U23 match against Brighton

Hello, Hope! We’ve missed you...

Chelsea Open Training Cobham Photo by Clive Howes - Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Chelsea have confirmed that Callum Hudson-Odoi and Reece James are set to take part in tomorrow’s Development Squad (U23) PL2 match against Brighton & Hove Albion at Stamford Bridge!

The match will be available live and free on the Chelsea website and the 5th Stand App, even (7pm kick-off)!

One thing that seems to get lost in the aftermath of iffy results — even, at times, by me — is that the on-pitch iteration of 2019-20 Chelsea FC is very much incomplete. Staples of previous squads are waffling just below 100 per cent in Pedro (who hasn’t been seen since mid-August), N’Golo Kanté (who has started just one Premier League match) and Antonio Rüdiger (who played 95 minutes for the U23 side in a 2-2 draw withSpurs on 30 August). But it’s the sidelined soldiers of the Youth Revolution™ that have stalled most of this season’s hope.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek (achilles), Callum Hudson-Odoi (achilles) and Reece James (ankle) are all expected to become fixtures of a newer, younger, fresher Chelsea. Well, good news for two of the three!

Thanks to the wonders of social media and the mass addiction we’ve all developed to it and thus deem it normal, we know Callum has been gallivanting around in this season’s kit well-enough to show off his footwork, and Reece recently — dramatically, though awkwardly — dropped his crutch to the ground.

But these are terrific signs for a team that is supposed to be a project, but is instead forced to resemble something patchwork. Lampard’s high-intensity system has left Azpilicueta with a lot of defending to do for a 30-year-old with roughly one-billion miles in each leg. Though his dropoff has been greatly exaggerated, it would be wise to spell him with someone with more athleticism and a bit more comfort on the ball. As for Callum, well, he is indeed the golden boy.

Though we await the official confirmation of the signing of his new contract (sign it), it seems whatever assurances the young winger was looking for seem to have all been agreed upon, and that he is now happy. His introduction would be a huge boost for Chelsea, and surely remove some of the weight from newcomer Christian Pulisic. Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount are creating chances and getting goals at a fairly impressive rate, but another key threat — which Callum has shown he can be — would allow Lamps’ system to hum.

First things first, however, this U23 match is important not just for conditioning and match sharpness, but to ensure that things are healed properly, and that there are no setbacks. So while poor Brighton could be in for a long day if either are a lot further on in their rehabilitation than we think, it’s most important to see them complete their minutes injury-free. If they both manage to do so then a hurdle will have been cleared, and we can begin flirting with the hope we all had before the matches started counting.

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