There is not a more perfect opportunity at Chelsea than now for Callum Hudson-Odoi.
He has been playing regularly and performing well for Thomas Tuchel in pre-season matches and training, and he has been impressing the coaches.
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He finally has that turn of pace back that he lost with his achilles injury, and he is playing direct, with confidence, and scoring goals for fun in training matches. He needs to push on and do this when it matters in big matches and if he does, he has every chance of playing regularly for Tuchel and Chelsea this season and really igniting his Chelsea career.
The only downside to that – it will not be in his preferred left wing/left attacking position, or even on the right wing for that matter. If he wants to make it at Chelsea and play most games, he will need to make it as a right wing back.
Tuchel likes him in the attacking left position, and I’m not ruling him out using him there as well, but looking at training and recent games, Hudson-Odoi’s game time is more likely to come from the right wing back position, and I now think that he would be wiser to grow into that role and really become the master of it/become un-droppable there.
There is so much competition in the attacking positions and that is only going to grow further with the pending arrival of Romelu Lukaku. Tuchel only uses three advanced attackers, and on the left Hudson-Odoi has Timo Werner and Christian Pulisic ahead of him. On the right you’d expect Kai Havertz to drop back there from a false 9 when Lukaku comes in, then you also have Mason Mount and Hakim Ziyech. Any of them can be versatile and play in pretty much any of those attacking positions.
We know Hudson-Odoi’s quality, and we know how good he is in attack, but I think he needs to bite the bullet and perfect that wing back role. Because over there he just has Reece James, who I personally believe is much better as a right centre back and I believe that is where Tuchel will use him the most, and the aging club captain, Cesar Azpilicueta, who I believe will slowly be getting less game time this season albeit still be an important player for us.
But in terms of this season, Hudson-Odoi and James must be seriously looking to becoming the regular starters on that right hand side, James as the back, and Hudson-Odoi as wing back. I think if they both hit top form, this will be the regular setup down there and I believe this is the best way for Hudson-Odoi to now get regular game time for Chelsea and I do think he can thrive there.
Remember Chelsea tried to sign Achraf Hakimi and were linked to Adama Traore, it is clearly an area that they thought/think they need to add to. Hudson-Odoi could make them change their minds on that and tell them no, I’ve got this position locked down now.
I think he can start by putting in a quality performance tonight, because I believe he will be the starting right wing back in the Super Cup final later on.