The 19-year-old England international ended months of speculation over his future and talk of a £35 million move to Bayern Munich last summer by signing a five-year deal with the club last September, following talks with newly-appointed boss Frank Lampard.
Conditions were right for youth to finally get a chance at Stamford Bridge after years of academy neglect, with a FIFA enforced transfer ban and young manager prepared to trust youth, setting up the likes of Mason Mount, Fikayo Tomori and Tammy Abraham to benefit. Everything seemed in place for the 19-year-old Hudson-Odoi — who joined the Blues at 8 years old — to establish himself at the forefront of Lampard’s new era, yet he starts this exclusive interview with ESPN by making a frank admission.
“For me personally, I think it is not the season that I would have liked to have,” he said. “I could have worked on so many aspects of my game to become a better player. I’m working hard every day and training hard every day but sometimes in a game, you want to score goals, assist goals, help the team as much possible, and I feel like this year I wasn’t doing enough of that.
“So I feel myself, next season, when it comes, I have to try and get more goals and more assists, help the team as much as possible and hit the goals I set myself,” Hudson-Odoi told ESPN at the launch of Adidas’ new X Ghosted boots.
Hudson-Odoi has registered three goals and six assists this season from 32 appearances, only 12 of which have been starts. Injuries hampered his progress. His recovery process following an Achilles problem sustained last April delayed his first-team involvement until Sept. 25 and a separate hamstring complaint ruled him out from early February until after football’s resumption in June. However, Lampard has consistently lamented Chelsea’s collective profligacy in front of goal and it’s a criticism Hudson-Odoi has taken to heart, particularly since the restart when he is yet to start a game, only making seven substitute appearances totaling 103 minutes.
“I think to myself that when in games, I’ve had a couple of chances where I know I should be hitting the target or scoring,” he said. “To myself, I feel disappointed because I know I’m capable of scoring goals and capable of assisting goals so when I don’t do it, I feel frustrated because I know what I can do and what I can’t do.
“For me, it was more of a personal thing where, ‘Cal, you can do better, you’ve got to keep going, keep working hard, try and get the goals and assists and help the team as much as possible.'”
He does not undertake that introspection alone. His father, Bismark, older brother Bradley and mother, Jenny — part of a wider family including two more siblings — form a…