Callum Hudson-Odoi just needed some time away from Wingbacks FC

Callum Hudson-Odoi has already explained why he decided to go out on loan this season – get fit, get minutes, get healthy again – so his latest interview with The Athletic doesn’t really offer anything new in that regard, although the timing was still somewhat prophetic given that he went down on the same day Chelsea were without nominal wing-backs Raheem Sterling and Christian Pulisic in Salzburg.

That fate has befallen Hudson-Odoi too often for anyone’s liking over the past few years – be it the fans, the coach or the player himself – so he just wanted to spend some time away from Wingbacks FC. A little break, to cheer up the heart.

“At times, [playing wing-back] it was fine. But sometimes I think in my head: ‘What am I doing, why am I in this position? I defend more than I attack’. No matter where I played, I always tried to do my best and help the team — it’s not always about me. I never argued; I just got on with it.

“But to get the best out of yourself, you have to play where you feel most comfortable and do what you do best. […] My mindset was, ‘I’ve got to get out of there.’ Not in a rude way, like I don’t like the club or I don’t want to be in the club, I don’t like the club. Nothing like that.”

As before, Callum is quick to point out that none of this is a personal attack on Thomas Tuchel, who he holds in high regard as a coach and as a person, but playing in his preferred positions is … well … that’s what he prefers, you know. Like anyone.

“I would never say anything bad or say anything bad about it [Tuchel]. He was always a good guy, a good man, on and off the field. It was simple… with so many great players in the team, you obviously have to fight for your position and work as hard as you can. It’s definitely been tough with him at times, but you’ve got to get on with it and do the best you can.”

Bayer 04 Leverkusen v FC Porto: Group B - UEFA Champions League

Photo by Stefan Brauer/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

While Hudson-Odoi has done well on an individual level so far, Bayer Leverkusen have struggled all season, recently sacking their coach and hiring former Liverpool and Real Madrid star Xabi Alonso as their manager. Perhaps he can help turn the team around and make a name for himself in senior management (his first such appointment). Callum can do him and himself a huge favor if he rediscovers his promise.

“I should have played football in a new place. Start over. I try my best wherever I am. And then come back to Chelsea at the end of the loan.”

“[Todd Boehly] said: ‘Make sure you do your thing out there – be confident, be free, be the player you want to be. [And] I feel like I’m getting back to who I was – I’m getting back to that stage before the injury when I was more direct and dribbling and stuff.

“The last few seasons I’ve been a bit more backward, I’ve been passing more; I was more confident. I feel much better now. I feel sharper and more direct on the ball. All that is missing now are goals and assists. Then everything will be fine.”

-Callum Hudson-Odoi; source: The Athletic

Bayer play Atletico Madrid in the Champions League tonight, needing a win to stay alive in Group B for at least a place in the Europa League.


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