Rio Ferdinand fears that Callum Hudson-Odoi has one more roll of the dice this season to salvage his once-promising Chelsea career.
Speaking on his YouTube channel, Ferdinand insisted Hudson-Odoi needed a stellar campaign in order to remain a Blue for another term.
The 20-year-old has been sniffing around a spot in the first-team set-up ever since Thomas Tuchel stepped foot in Stamford Bridge.
Unfortunately, the young forward is yet to truly bear the fruits of his forage around the preverbal forest.
If anything, he’s been cast further out into the wilderness, unsure whether to keep traveling in the same direction or look for alternative routes.
It was reported Hudson-Odoi wanted to leave Chelsea in the summer to join Borussia Dortmund, but the Blues blocked their academy product’s exit plan.
Come on Callum
Tuchel still sees him as a valued member of the squad, hence handing him a rare start in the 3-0 win over Aston Villa last weekend.
But failure to turn that one outing into three, four or five on the trot, Ferdinand worried this could be curtains for the Cobham pupil in South West London.
“Hudson-Odoi has been promising and threatening for a couple of seasons now,” said the former Manchester United defender.
“This has got to be his breakthrough season where he really cements his place in that team if he has a chance of staying there and being a real Chelsea player for many years to come because he’s got undoubted talent.
“He hasn’t really transferred the talent he showed as a kid, in the youth teams or the teams coming up.
“There was a real buzz around him. He hasn’t transferred that consistently yet into this Chelsea team.”
In Hudson-Odoi’s defence, the failure to replicate those abilities shown at a younger level hasn’t always been his fault.
An Achilles injury struck him down just as he was finding some good form under Maurizio Sarri.
A lengthy spell out on the sidelines knocked the wind out of his sails.
He has been playing catch-up from that moment.
Of course, the task of earning Tuchel’s trust is a tall one.
But this is the assignment standing before Hudson-Odoi if he is to become a Chelsea regular.