Callum Hudson-Odoi is staying with Chelsea after the latest unsuccessful attempt from Bayern Munich to prise away our prize winger. Armed with a long-term contract and set for a big role in a young team, the future looks quite bright indeed, not just for Callum but for Chelsea as well.
But beyond the headlines of Bayern’s annoyingly public pursuit, Hudson-Odoi unfortunately hasn’t yet rediscovered his fantastic form of a couple seasons ago, before the Achilles injury. Recent signs are promising, but it’s been a slow process and patience, as ever, is in short supply.
Lampard may have patience, but after losing Willian and Pedro in the summer, will be needing Hudson-Odoi to start stepping up.
“The way he trains and if he feels confidence, and he needs to know I am behind him, then we are going to see a lot more from Callum.
“We have to remember as well that he had a very difficult injury to deal with at a very young age. It is not easy to get over that, when you are a player of that pace, trickery and explosive nature. This season Callum is going to offer a lot for us because of his natural ability.”
For Lampard however, the focus isn’t on getting back to previous levels for the 19-year-old. It’s on growing beyond that, on adding new dimensions to his game, especially off the ball — dimensions that Chelsea lost with the aforementioned departures this summer, too. Callum’s on the ball skills are most excellent and will develop even further in due course. Improving off the ball will require a lot more work, and a lot less fun work.
“With Callum his work off the ball is something that I am very strong on trying to improve. It is something that at this level in the Premier League, you see how we were last year with Willian a lot of the time being the first trigger in winning the ball back with how much ground he covers in high areas.
“Wingers have to have that mindset. That is something I have to put on Callum and he has to improve on.
“Other than that, Callum’s natural abilities on the ball, and when you see him take people on on the outside and what he can do, those things are going to come out as he keeps developing.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Evening Standard
With his Chelsea future assured and stable and healthy, the ball is in Callum’s court. In a month, he will no longer be a teenager. Expectations will wait for no man, especially in our modern socially distanced yet way too connected world of instant gratification and hot takes.
The work begins now.