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Callum Hudson-Odoi - The season that was and the season that's awaiting

Callum Hudson-Odoi's name came into full flow last season (2018/19) during the December and January period. Plenty of pressure was on Sa...

Callum Hudson-Odoi's name came into full flow last season (2018/19) during the December and January period. Plenty of pressure was on Sarri to play this youth talent as he was a rising star from the Chelsea academy. There was major interest from Bayern Munich who was willing to pay a sizeable amount for the 18-year-old and give a lucrative wage proposal for the services of this youngster. 

However, luckily enough for Chelsea's sake, Sarri started to give Callum a lot more minutes. More specifically in Europa League and eventually in the Premier League by April. He absolutely lit up the initial stages of the Europa League with 4 goals and 2 assists and it was during this time where it was clear to see the immense talent this youngster had. 

Unfortunately, by the end of April 2019, Callum suffered an Achilles tendon rupture and that was the end of his season. Without a doubt, his growth was in a positive trajectory.   

By the start of the 2019/20 season, the contract extension saga re-established again. Bayern was at the scene once more trying to lure the talented player away from Chelsea. However, at this stage Lampard, the newly appointed manager had made it clear that he sees Callum as a major part of Chelsea's rebuild. Consequently, after a long stretched out process Callum signed the new improved deal with Chelsea but for certain parts of the fan base, it left a sour taste due to the long drawn out process with Bayern being involved and the eventual lucrative deal for an 18-year-old who hasn't proven anything in the Premier League yet. Nonetheless, the majority moved on and waited patiently for this superstar's return back from a crucial injury. 

The long-awaited return happened at the end of September and Callum simply lit up the stage with assists after assists. He was exactly the injection of energy Lampard's team required and it was interesting to see that he was getting the best out of the senior players as well. More specifically Willian's game was improving due to Callum's introduction. 

However, by November and through till almost the end of December Callum went through a form dip and this was when Pulisic stepped up and took his chances to its full extent. This form dip was probably expected due to the massive injury sustained by the player and the return perhaps being a bit earlier than expected. At this point, once again, certain parts of the fanbase started to write Callum off, completely disregarding what he has gone through injury-wise and expecting him to produce week in week out at such a young age. Patience is generally not a concept well associated with the Chelsea fan base.  

It was around early January 2020 when Callum started to feature prominently again for the team and this time he was able to string together quite a few back to back 90 minutes performances. He was slowly building up his game and technically he was looking sound. Once again many fans could see what a phenomenal talent he could turn out to be in the future. 

However, just when things were going fine, Callum was hit with a hamstring injury mid February which kept him away from the team up until the lock-down was imposed in March.

Overall, it was probably not the exact return expected by Callum but one must realize the adversities this player had to endure during this season. Putting everything into perspective, this season's performance, so far, was probably in line with the realistic expectation. 

Next season's expectations   

Next season, Callum has to ensure he understands the limitations of his body. He cannot afford to have yet another injury-laden season. Chelsea's medical staff and management must also have a succinct plan for him in regard to how many minutes he should aim for in the season which will have a positive impact on his development. 

He will be 20 next season and it's important to realize his body is still growing and overburdening him with tonnes of minutes could be detrimental to the long term plan. Having said that, a sizeable growth in goal involvement is most likely required due to being one of Chelsea's premium wingers. 5-10 goals and 10+ assists should be the minimum expectation in all club competitions for it to deem a successful season from Callum. He is more than capable of doing this. Most importantly Frank will require this as Chelsea need to start bridging the gap against Man City and Liverpool.  

Check out the fantastic group discussion on Callum's season so far and expectations for next season (Youtube video provided in this article)

Written and picture edited by - Miz Rahman 
Twitter - @Miz9Rahman 

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