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The form of Chelsea youngster Callum Hudson-Odoi has drawn criticisms as the 19-year-old has been below par since recovering from a long-term injury.
After an amazing performance last term that attracted interest from Bayern Munich and made Chelsea give him a mammoth salary to keep him at the club, Hudson-Odoi has failed to replicate his last season’s form.
However, he was at his best against Nottingham Forest on Sunday as he put in an awesome performance to help his team to a 2-0 victory. Besides getting a goal, the teenager was brilliant on the ball and was confident beating players as we’ve known him to do.
Chelsea hero Pat Nevin has hailed the youngster for his performance and has backed him to return to form.
Nevin wrote in his column for the official Chelsea website: “It glowed brighter quickly when Callum Hudson-Odoi scored the opener after six minutes. It hasn’t been easy for Callum to get back to his sharpest self in matches and I suspect there are several reasons for that. Coming back from injury, especially a serious one, is different for every single player. When it is the first major injury of your pro career it can play with your mind a bit.
“The immediate thought lodged in the back of your brain is, ‘Will I ever get back and will I be able to do all the same things I used to do at the same speed?’ Most of the time you are ultra-positive and doubtless these days there are good psychologists trying to get inside the minds of the young players trying to winkle out these negative thoughts. They are however lodged there nagging in the background until you are back in the team, you play your first really good game and vitally, you make or score the first goal that is reminiscent of those you had before the injury. Callum fortunately ticked all those boxes against Nottingham Forest and it was a great relief to him and to everyone watching.
“With any luck, that is him back and he will not have to consider that injury and those painful times again. The other thing of course was that while he was recuperating, other youngsters were stepping into his shoes, actually that should be ‘boots’ obviously. They were his mates of course but from being the golden boy along with Ruben Loftus-Cheek, suddenly Tammy, Mason, Reece and Fikayo were getting all the plaudits once reserved for him. He wouldn’t have been jealous as such, but again somewhere deep down there must have been real pain that he was missing out while everyone else was having a ball, all because of a moment’s bad luck with that bizarre injury.
“With Willian flying, Christian Pulisic having some fantastic games too and Pedro one of the most decorated players on the planet, it would have been daunting to think about getting back into the team. With all of them there between him and a starting berth, it takes a lot to keep on believing, smiling and being positive around the club. The performance at the weekend and the belief shown by the boss will have given him an enormous boost.
“The thing I was waiting for wasn’t the goal he scored, but that first burst of pace that took him past a defender or indeed inside to create space. There was a decent amount of that sort of acceleration on Sunday and hopefully there is plenty more to come. Callum has many talents, but that ability to go past defenders and disrupt organised defences is priceless in the modern game.”