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Callum Hudson-Odoi and Reece James were in action for the first time this season as they featured in our development squad’s 2-1 win over Brighton at Stamford Bridge.
Hudson-Odoi has been out with a ruptured Achilles tendon since late April, while James suffered an ankle injury this summer while away on England international duty, after excelling on loan with Wigan.
The duo are expected to play a huge role for Frank Lampard this season, but first they must get their match fitness back, which is why they are featuring for our U23 side.
For Hudson-Odoi, he looked like he wasn’t away as he was one of the best attacking players on display and his pace and trickery haven’t left him.
Hudson-Odoi played for an hour and James lasted the first half as the youngsters stepped up their recovery from injury, and they were both involved in the opening goal, although most of the credit must go to Henry Lawrence, who finished sublimely from an acute angle midway through the first half.
Eight minutes before the break Hudson-Odoi had the crowd applauding with some sublime skill inside our half that got him out of a crowded area. James was rested by halftime, while Hudson-Odoi got 15 more minutes after the restart.
Marcel Lewis pounced in a 73rd minute corner to double Chelsea’s lead, but Brighton got a consolation in the last minute of stoppage time as Alex Cochrane headed in from six yards out.
In his press conference earlier today, Blues boss Frank Lampard had revealed that their involvement in this clash against Brighton is the next step in their recovery from injury, and revealed that he’d be on ground to watch them.
“Callum is going to play for the Under-23s this evening, along with Reece James, so they’ll get minutes which is important now,” Lampard told the media.
“Callum has been training with us for a while but there are still some issues with the actual injury itself that we need to make sure are okay. He’ll need to get match fit so these games are really beneficial for him.
“Reece has not had such a long time out but he needs games for similar reasons. They’re two young players who are going to be big for this club going forward so we’ll all be watching tonight.”