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Chelsea

Hudson-Odoi admits he needed to 'get out' of Chelsea as he reflects on 'difficult times' under Tuchel

11:40 GMT+3 25/10/2022
Callum Hudson-Odoi Chelsea
Callum Hudson-Odoi felt he had no choice but to leave Chelsea during the summer, ultimately agreeing a season-long loan at Bayer Leverkusen.
  • Achilles injury affected Blues progress
  • Wasn't in squad for first game of the season
  • Agreed Bundesliga move soon after

WHAT HAPPENED? Chelsea looked like they had another future England regular on their hands when Hudson-Odoi burst into the first team at Stamford Bridge a few years ago. However, injuries - and a struggle to convince Thomas Tuchel he was worthy of a regular place - saw his progress stall and he felt that a move away from the club was his only alternative after being left out of the matchday squad at the start of the season.

WHAT HE SAID: “My mindset was, ‘I have to get out of there’,” he told The Athletic. “Not in a rude way, as in I don’t like the club or I don’t want to be at the club, I don’t like the club. Nothing like that. But I needed to play football somewhere new. Start afresh. Try the best I can wherever I am. And then go back to Chelsea at the end of the loan."

AND WHAT'S MORE: As a natural winger, operating largely in the wing-back role in Tuchel's system came as a source of frustration for Hudson-Odoi. He added on his time in the role: “At times, it was okay. But sometimes in my head, I’m thinking, ‘What am I doing, why am I in this position? I’m more defending than attacking’. No matter where I was playing, I was always trying to do my best and help the team — it’s not always about myself. I never argued; I just got on with it. But in order to get the best out of yourself, you have to play where you can feel most comfortable and do what you can do best. It was definitely difficult at times with him but you have to get on with it and do what you can.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: The continued investment in the squad at Chelsea, who sacked Tuchel in September before drafting in Graham Potter, has only made it harder for Hudson-Odoi to prove he is worthy of a regular place in the starting XI. Instead, he felt he was better placed at Leverkusen, where he is afforded more game time and he has already started eight games across the Bundesliga and Champions League, with the last few of those coming under the club's new manager Xabi Alonso.

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WHAT NEXT FOR HUDSON-ODOI? Like a number of players across Europe, the 21-year-old is keeping one eye on next month's World Cup. While securing a place in the England squad looks pretty much impossible, he may still qualify for Ghana, who have been drawn in Group H alongside Portugal, Uruguay and South Korea.