'Be more challenging': National team coach fears for Chelsea player's position at club level

Gareth Southgate admitted it will be a struggle for Callum Hudson-Odoi to recover his Chelsea spot due to the quality ahead of him in the pecking order.

Speaking to the media (as quoted by the Evening Standard), Southgate delivered an honest verdict as to why Hudson-Odoi had been out of the England set-up for some time.

The simple answer to that is clear: he hasn’t been playing enough for Chelsea.

Photo by Chloe Knott – Danehouse/Getty Images

Thomas Tuchel’s appointment in January signalled the slide down a very slippery slope for the 20-year-old.

He lasted started a Premier League game in April.

Just under an hour of league action has followed for the exciting forward.

Hudson-Odoi is yet to feature at all domestically this season, his only appearance arriving in the UEFA Super Cup final.

Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Once the golden boy of a nation, the exciting forward is now scraping around in the dirt for a lifeline.

Expiring England opportunities

This fall at club level has taken a massive chunk out of his chances of an England recall.

For the first team anyway, as Hudson-Odoi is still a member of the U21s.

Southgate hasn’t called up the Cobham scholar for nearly two years, a factor the Three Lions manager puts down to unfortunate circumstances.

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“I think Callum was in the team at Chelsea at a time when we felt he was pushing for a place in our squad,” he said.

“The club form often dictates some of those opportunities and he had a really bad injury of course, which put him out of the running for a long period of time.”

If Hudson-Odoi has even a slither of hope to re-join his compatriots before the World Cup next summer, he needs to find a way of reclaiming Tuchel’s trust.

Which won’t be easy, considering the high volume of attacking players on display at Chelsea.

Southgate also touched on this, saying: “At his club at the moment it looks as though he’s going to play in certain matches as a wing-back and it’s going to be more challenging to get in that front three at Chelsea now that (Romelu) Lukaku is there as well, so I think the U21s can be an important part of his development.”

Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Sticking with England’s young Lions could be Hudson-Odoi’s best prospect of climbing back into the senior pride.

But that outlook will remain hazy if Chelsea continue to overlook him.

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Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produces regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League.