Tag Archives: Callum Hudson-Odoi

How and why is Aidy Boothroyd still in charge of England’s future?

England Under-21’s started their European Championship campaign with a defeat to Switzerland, as their record in competition continued to go down the toilet.

Aidy Boothroyd’s side lined up with three-at-the back and two holding midfielders, then struggled to create any real clear-cut chances throughout the 90 minutes as Dan Ndoye scored a looping effort with 13 minutes to go to seal the three points.

It wasn’t a smash and grab though, as the Swiss missed a big chance in the first half and also hit the post in the second half before grabbing their goal. They were the better team on the day and fully deserved the win.

Now there is no disrespect intended in this post to the Swiss side. They’ve now won ten of their last 11 games stretching back to September 2019 and are clearly a very good team and well coached.

But their squad options are in no way equal to England’s and it begs the question as to why Boothroyd opted for the team he did. It makes it just two wins in the last eight tournament matches for England, following their early elimination in the tournament two years ago under Boothroyd.

Strangely enough, he was given a new contract after that failure but it now seems as though his limitations are clear for everyone to see.

The decision to go with three-at-the-back was incredibly peculiar, with the squad so clearly more suited for four with more attacking options. The decision to add two holding midfielders to that scenario when the likes of Eberechi Eze and Curtis Jones sitting on the bench while Tom Davies and Oliver Skipp started in the heart of the pitch and were largely tame.

When you have the better squad, better players and such quality attacking depth, playing with fear just makes such little sense.

You have the momentum of being unbeaten in six games and lots of players who are regulars at club level in top divisions across Europe. Why play with such fear and pragmatism?

The only possible explanation is that Boothroyd knows he isn’t capable of coaching his players to their maximum, because it exceeds his own personal abilities.

He is clearly only capable of coaching in a certain way and there isn’t anything wrong with that per say, but it means he should be in charge of a club or country that match those limitations.

England have got one of the best youth squads in world football and confining them to the limitations of a manager who cannot maximise their skills and abilities is only stifling the development of the players.

The manager of the Under-21 team is supposed to be the man to prepare the best young talent in the country for an eventual and potential senior team call up and to help them develop and learn about international football.

As a nation that are often regarded as one of the better teams in the world despite a lack of success at competition level, if England want to change that they need to start with appointing the right coaches. Aidy Boothroyd is clearly not the right coach for this team.

With fixtures against Portugal on Sunday and then Croatia in midweek, a tough group just got made a whole lot tougher with a lot more pressure on the squad following the defeat.

Chelsea show versatility and quality in win over Everton

Chelsea made it 12 games unbeaten in all competitions and 11 since the arrival of Thomas Tuchel with a relatively comfortable win over Everton at Stamford Bridge.

The Londoners made it consecutive wins in the league to bounce back from their 1-1 draw with Southampton with a 2-0 win over the Toffees thanks to a Ben Godfrey own goal and a Jorginho penalty either side of half-time.

The win moves them into the top four, four points ahead of Everton and two points ahead of West Ham United having played a game more than both. You could say Tuchel is doing the job he was brought in to do, or the job that Lampard was supposed to do.

It was a performance that we’ve somewhat come to expect from Tuchel’s Chelsea, as they dominated possession and overloaded the wide areas to create chances while limiting Everton to half-chances and snap shots for the most part.

The impressive part of the performance was that the manager was able to rotate the side and still come away with a good performance and result. Kurt Zouma, Marcos Alonso, Jorginho and Kai Havertz all started the game in place of Antonio Rudiger, Ben Chilwell, Ngolo Kante and Mason Mount and the level of performance from the team didn’t really change.

It also showed a great versatility in the squad. Zouma came in as the left-sided centre-back as opposed to playing centrally as he did in his last appearance, while Havertz was fielded as a false nine with Timo Werner on the right wing and Callum Hudson-Odoi on the left.

It was a relatively free-flowing performance from the Blues as Alonso and Hudson-Odoi seemingly worked well together on the left hand side while Havertz seemed to thrive in a more central role with speed on either side of him, as opposed to the right wing role Lampard had him in a lot.

It was a positive display from him individually as he saw a goal taken off him and credited as an own goal before having another ruled out for offside, in what was arguably his best performance since his hat-trick against Barnsley in the Carabao Cup third round.

With a Premier League clash Leeds United coming up at the weekend before the Champions League last 16 second leg against Atletico Madrid in midweek, Chelsea will be very keen to ensure they can maintain this form going into the final stretch of the season.

The depth of the squad is on show, the manager has got them purring and the players that you would expect to be match winners or difference makers and starting to fill their boots. Things are looking up for the Blues.

Chelsea’s new 3-2-5 system shines as Blues beat Tottenham

The Thomas Tuchel era has begun in near perfect terms, as a 1-0 win over Tottenham in north London made it two wins from three games with three clean sheets.

The German took over from Frank Lampard last month after a string of poor results from the club’s all-time top goalscorer, and he’s come in and not only steadied the ship but got them sailing in the right direction.

The win over Spurs came from the penalty spot, with Jorginho back on spot kick duties and smashing the ball past Hugo Lloris in the first half.

But it was the manner of the performance from the Blues that earned them plaudits, as they largely dominated the ball and looked very comfortable throughout the game.

Tuchel has adopted a three at the back system since taking over, using Cesar Azpilicueta as a third centre back alongside Thiago Silva and Antonio Rudiger. Callum Hudson-Odoi has been fielded as a make-shift wing back in the previous two games, although Reece James came into the team against Spurs with Hudson-Odoi moving into the front three.

With Marcos Alonso brought back into the fold after being isolated under Lampard, Tuchel’s wing backs push so far forward that they were often in line with the front three to essentially create a front five.

The two central midfielders sit relatively deep to prevent the counter attack and keep the ball ticking along and the front five keep the opposition defenders fenced in and occupied at all times.

It allows the team to get numbers in the box, all making runs in behind or coming short offering up options and looking dangerous.

It was an impressive spectacle from a neutral point of view, although they were lacking that final click in the final third to create more clear cut chances. With that said, more time to train and develop under Tuchel will only bring improvements in that sense.

The technical quality of the Chelsea squad was on full show throughout the game, with almost 60% possession and fans will be delighted to see the attacking intent in the side is being matched by a great coach and a genuine plan.

Some of the runs made by attackers were clearly deliberate and almost rehearsed, which makes Chelsea a frightening prospect once everything eventually clicks.

Chelsea are back, while Spurs continue to melt away into mediocrity under Jose Mourinho.

How will Thomas Tuchel line up his Chelsea team?

The Frank Lampard era is over at Chelsea, as he was sacked by the Stamford Bridge board following a string of poor results.

Chelsea were top of the league in December following a win over Leeds, but five defeats in eight games since then have seen them fall 12 points behind league leaders Manchester United since then and it’s been enough for the club hierarchy to make the decision to let him go.

The news was quickly followed up with reports that he will be immediately replaced by German manager Thomas Tuchel, who was sacked by Paris Saint-Germain in December after an inconsistent season in France.

Tuchel is known for attacking football, with quick transitions and possession being the priority. He made his name as the Borussia Dortmund manager, where the likes of Ousmane Dembele, Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang and Marco Reus flourished under his management.

With Chelsea’s squad having just had a £220m injection of new players in the summer, it will be interesting to see how Tuchel sets up his team for the remainder of the season.

In goal, Edouard Mendy was the undisputed first choice under Lampard following his signing in the summer but reports say that the board are still keen for Kepa Arrizabalaga to be a success after spending £72m on him and giving him a seven-year contract back in 2018.

It’s possible that he could feel the pressure to select Kepa, but Mendy has performed well since joining and their distribution skills aren’t that different. Mendy should get the nod, but you never know once club politics come into it.

In defence, Thiago Silva will be the undisputed number one centre back at the club. The two worked together at PSG and Silva was the captain, so he will be in the side not only for his ability but also because he will know what the manager expects of him. Alongside him, Kurt Zouma has been a regular so far this season but Rudiger was a target for Tuchel at PSG earlier this season so he could come into the side.

Paris Saint-Germain v Girondins Bordeaux - Ligue 1 : News Photo

Reece James’ performances and skillset should see him keep his place in the side as an attacking full-back, while Ben Chilwell and Emerson will continue to compete for the left-back spot. Chilwell is younger and better defensively, but Emerson is quicker and arguably better going forward. Depending on the way Tuchel looks to set up his team, Emerson has a good shout of becoming a regular.

In midfield, Ngolo Kante has been a sure-fire starter ever since joining the Blues and that is likely to continue here. A defensive midfielder with energy and an ability to break up play and press high, Kante fits the role perfectly of what Idrissa Gueye filled at PSG and Ilkay Gundogan did prior to that at Dortmund.

Alongside him, Tuchel is likely to want someone who is more competent on the ball and comfortable in possession. While Jorginho is a candidate, his lack of athleticism has seen him struggle hugely since joining the Premier League. Mason Mount has been a mainstay under Lampard and played relatively well but without having a relationship to the club and academy, Tuchel will likely opt for Mateo Kovacic over those options.

Ahead of them, Timo Werner and Kai Havertz are a huge reason as to why the club have brought him into the club as manager. The club were keen to have a German speaking manager to help them settle in better so they will almost certainly be the starters in the team as a number ten and the central striker.

Either side of them will be interesting. With his preference for possession and overlapping full-backs, Hakim Ziyech’s passing ability will likely see him secure his position on the right wing. On the left though, it’s more open.

Callum Hudson-Odoi has been good in spells this season but not really given the opportunity of a run of games from the start. His preferred position is to play on the left so he can drive onto his right foot and shoot, but he’s just as capable going on the outside and crossing too. The issue for him comes that Christian Pulisic played under Tuchel at Dortmund as a youngster and broke into the side for him.

Borussia Dortmund v 1. FC Koeln - Bundesliga : News Photo

He will know the skillset of the player, but more importantly the player will already be aware of the demands placed on him and expectations that the manager will have. Hudson-Odoi is arguably the better player right now, but Tuchel will want some familiarity to his methods if he can get it because it’s mid-season and this could buy Pulisic more time in the starting lineup.

Tuchel will need results and performances to pick up quickly to get fans on side with the decision to sack Lampard and bring him in and his team selections will be under scrutiny immediately.

Welcome to the Premier League, Thomas!

Callum Hudson-Odoi Deserves a Chance To Shine For Chelsea

Chelsea fell to a third defeat in four games in their clash against Arsenal on Boxing Day, with the Gunners landing only their second Premier League win in 11 games.

Goals from Alexandre Lacazette, Granit Xhaka and Bukayo Saka saw Mikel Arteta’s side cruising at the Emirates Stadium. Tammy Abraham scored a late consolation goal, thanks to the creativity of Callum Hudson-Odoi on the wing but ultimately it proved too little too late.

With Hakim Ziyech out injured and Kai Havertz horribly out of form, Lampard has continued to use German forward Timo Werner on the wing instead of in his preferred striker role. This means that Hudson-Odoi has often found himself on the bench and is once again being linked with a move away from the club.

But after coming on for Werner at half-time, the 20-year-old has proven that he has plenty to offer Lampard’s side in attack and is absolutely deserving of a chance to shine more regularly.

‘CHO’ started the second half on the right wing and with his first set of touches he beat his marker and whipped in a lovely cross for Abraham. The rest of the half essentially consisted of getting the ball to him and Reece James to whip crosses in, although for some odd reason Lampard never brought on Olivier Giroud from the bench.

A quick counter attack late on saw CHO once again beat his marker with skill before smashing a ball across the box for Abraham to tap in.

His directness, speed, technical skills and ability to play equally well on both wings is something that Chelsea don’t currently possess. Hakim Ziyech plays primarily from the right, using his wand of a left foot while Christian Pulisic has shown in recent weeks that he’s far more comfortable and effective from the left.

With the January window approaching, Hudson-Odoi’s chance has to come now. Chelsea have injuries, are struggling going forward and he is affecting games from the bench.

If Lampard continues to not give him the chance, there’s no better time to leave for pastures anew than immediately.

Callum Hudson-Odoi Needs To Play But Is Bayern Munich The Right Choice?

Arguably the most talented academy player to come through the ranks at Chelsea since John Terry, Callum Hudson-Odoi could be set to leave during the transfer window.

After finally breaking into the first-team under Maurizio Sarri, the Italian inexplicably refused to give him regular playing time towards the end of the season before the winger got a serious achilles injury which ruled him out for almost five months. When Lampard became manager it was expected he would be catapulted into the first-team regularly and flourish, but that hasn’t happened.

With lots of niggling injuries breaking up his season, Hudson-Odoi made just 9 starts from 28 appearances in total for Chelsea throughout the last campaign and then watched on as the club spent upwards of £200m on improving the squad, including three starting attackers.

With Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech and Kai Havertz coming into the team and Christian Pulisic being handed the coveted No.10 shirt as a sign of faith from Lampard, it has Hudson-Odoi firmly in the back-up bracket currently. The opening two games of the season were an even greater indication of how far out of favour he is too, as despite Ziyech and Pulisic being unavailable Lampard opted to use Mason Mount and Kai Havertz out of position on the wings instead.

So now the rumour mill is in full flow and Hudson-Odoi has been linked with a move away from the club. Lampard has refused to rule out an exit, while Bayern Munich are rumoured to be back in the race for him. But is that a smart move for CHO?

FC Bayern Muenchen v FC Schalke 04 - Bundesliga : News Photo

At Chelsea he’s currently behind in the pecking order but he’s at home. He’s at a club that loves him with a manager who knows all about him and they know he has four years left on his contract. A loan move to Bayern Munich, without an obligation to buy at the end of it, could be just as counter productive.

The German and European champions currently have Serge Gnabry and Kingsley Coman but they also completed the signing of Leroy Sane from Manchester City this summer. He is arguably their best winger now and after their opening weekend 8-0 win against Schalke, would Hudson-Odoi be able to get games in Germany?

He probably wouldn’t start, which is what he wants. The likelihood is though, that Bayern are better than Chelsea and they can afford to give him more games than Chelsea can. With the way they dominate their league, Bayern can freely rotate from game to game and give everyone in their first team enough minutes to be content. That was shown when Hansi Flick brought on youngster Jamal Musiala in that win over Schalke, and the 17 year old scored shortly after entering the field of play.

Hudson-Odoi would definitely have more options than just Bayern Munich should he genuinely become available for a move. Manchester United are in desperate need of a talented winger, although the likelihood of Chelsea helping out a direct rival is low. There is also talk of Juventus being interested in a loan move with an option to buy, which could suit all parties in the short-term at least.

It’s something for Hudson-Odoi and Chelsea to think about in the final two weeks before the window ends. If Lampard isn’t going to use him going forward then Hudson-Odoi deserves the chance to play elsewhere. He is supremely skilled and talented and we’ve seen what regular football can do for a young talent.

CHO needs to decide what’s best for him. Where does he have the most chance of playing regular football. Is it worth pushing to get away from Chelsea to go somewhere else.

Sometimes, better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.

Who Should Manchester United Target As A Jadon Sancho Alternative?

With two weeks to go in the Premier League transfer window, it seems almost definite now that Ole Gunnar Solskjær will not be getting his No.1 target for the right wing position.

Manchester United have been pursuing Jadon Sancho for almost 18 months, with the club publicly making him their prime target this summer after securing a return to Champions League football last season.

Dortmund were firm, they wanted €120 million guaranteed as a fee to let the player leave. According to reports they were happy to accept instalments, they just wanted a good chunk up front to replace him and then the rest in guaranteed payments – not add-ons. Manchester United were adamant they would not pay that much during this window with the pandemic still in full-flow. There was hope that the two would be able to find a compromise but it hasn’t happened.

With the German outfit beginning their season with Sancho as part of their squad, it’s highly unlikely now that they will be willing to let him go so late in the transfer window and it’s highly unlikely that Manchester United will suddenly turn around and pay the amount they’ve refused to pay all summer long. The deal, for now, is dead in the water.

While Sancho will surely remain a target going forward, what should Manchester United do now? Do they look for stop-gap alternatives? Do they sign another winger instead and forget about Sancho altogether? Do they sign a new winger AND look to bring in Sancho next summer too? There are options.

As a stop-gap, the club have been linked with loan moves for Ivan Perisic and Douglas Costa. Both men are deemed as surplus to requirements at their current clubs (Inter and Juventus respectively) and have been linked with the club often in the past. Perisic was part of the hugely successful Bayern Munich side last season and was wanted in a permanent capacity but the two sides couldn’t agree on a fee and the German side walked away from the deal. For me, the club should steer clear. Short-term options are not what the club need right now and both players are left-footed who prefer to play on the left wing. It would just be bad judgement all round.

The reality is that Sancho is the perfect target for the club at the moment. He is young, English, quick, can play on either wing, scores goals, creates assists and doesn’t flounder against a low-block defence. The club should absolutely return for him at the next possible opportunity if they can and get a deal done if they’re unwilling to do so this summer. But they need reinforcements now too.

There are plenty of young wingers out there who should Manchester United be willing to spend a bit of money, they can try to bring in that would add quality depth and still not close off the prospect of Sancho joining in the future.

Ousmane Dembele has struggled with injuries for almost his entire spell at Barcelona and some disciplinary problems have seen the club consider cutting ties with him previously. While Ronald Koeman has him as part of the squad for the coming season, Barça are not light in attack. With Messi, Griezmann, Fati, Coutinho already at the club and Memphis to join, Dembele could be potentially become available. United should look to make a loan move for ‘Dembouz’ with the option of a permanent deal next summer. They’d likely have to pay his wages for the summer and offer a considerable loan fee, but he has the type of X-factor that Jadon Sancho also possesses. If he’s in any way available, United should have him earmarked as the first alternative.

FC Barcelona v Slavia Praha: Group F - UEFA Champions League : News Photo

Another option at Barcelona is Ansu Fati. The youngster broke into the first-team at Barca last season and was the shining star of a horrid season at the Nou Camp aged just 16. He made his Spain debut just prior to the season starting and became the youngest ever player and scorer for the senior national team. A signing would be nigh on impossible but if United are willing to spend the big money on Sancho but face stubborness from Dortmund, Fati would be a fitting alternative for a big money signing.

Another option could be Callum Hudson-Odoi of Chelsea. The young winger was linked with a move to Bayern Munich last summer but instead signed a new contract with the club before picking up a serious achilles injury. Since then he has struggled to get regular minutes under Frank Lampard and has been linked with a move away yet again. He has dribbling, speed, ability with both feet, ability to beat a man one-on-one, playmaking and goalscoring. He’s similar in that sense to Sancho and would be available for much less than Sancho would cost. The likelihood of a deal isn’t great considering the rivalry between the two clubs but if the player is keen to move on and he isn’t first choice, a bid of around £40 million could be enough to get the Blues ears perked up.

A left-field option would be young Dutchman Calvin Stengs. I linked him with Manchester City previously as a potential replacement for Leroy Sane after he signed for Bayern Munich for much of the same reasons as I’m listing him here. A left-footed winger who plays mostly from the right hand side for AZ Alkmaar, Stengs is a goal-threat and a dangerous dribbler on the ball, while he also has the ability to split defences with a pass as his 9 assists for last season showed. Only 21 years old, he fits perfectly into the profile that Solskjær is trying to build at the club and would be relatively cheap in comparison to all the players mentioned in this list.

With the Sancho deal dead, United need to make a decision and fast on what they want to do with their right-wing this season.