Callum Hudson-Odoi has revealed how his Ghanaian roots have helped him grow as a player at Chelsea, where he says he is “really happy” despite facing limited opportunities as he looks to reclaim his England spot ahead of the Euros.
Despite long-term interest from German champions Bayern Munich, the 20-year-old Stamford Bridge academy graduate has struggled to find his place under Frank Lampard – but has recently enjoyed an upturn in form – with two goals and two assists in his last four games across all competitions.
Hudson-Odoi hopes it can provide more opportunities for him in west London, where he has been limited to just two Premier League starts this season, and admits he still has one eye on the upcoming rescheduled European Championships, looking to once again break into Gareth Southgate’s squad and add to his tally of three England caps.
“I’m always smiling – that’s the main thing,” Hudson-Odoi told Sky Sports, when asked about his playing time this season. “I like to smile, be positive no matter the situation.
“I’m just happy to keep trying my best, get the opportunities to play and improve every game. I’m really happy with that.”
When asked if he knew why his opportunities this term have been hard to come by, he said: “No – I’m trying hard in training every day, I’m giving 110 per cent in training and in games.
“No matter when the opportunity comes, I’m going to try and continue to do my best and contribute to the team – scoring and assisting. Hopefully more opportunities will come.
“When I’m on the ball, I like to create as much as possible. I like to look up early, see the open play and try to switch the ball quickly. [I like to] drive at the defence, and create opportunities for myself too.
“I like to open up the game as much as possible, it’s part of my game, and hopefully I can create more goals for the team.”
Creating more goals will undoubtedly help him in his international quest, with Hudson-Odoi, eligible for both England and Ghana, representing the Three Lions at every age group from U16 to U21 then up to the first team.
He spoke about how his Ghanaian roots have helped him develop his career and even revealed how he had been sent a picture of a bus with his face on in the African country, as he looks to eventually find his place back in Southgate’s side.
“My family back at home, they watch all the games,” Hudson-Odoi added. “They highlight certain things that I can improve on and get better at. I always speak to the coach and to the manager, but I’ve had a lot of family helping me too.
“I don’t know if I’m big time [in Ghana]. I have received some things, they did name some things after me. I saw a bus – it had a picture of my face on it!
“I’m always remaining humble. I’m glad they did that for me but the hard work carries on. Hopefully more stuff will be named after me over there one day. It’s nice to hear there are people over there supporting [me].
“Hopefully there will be a few more Chelsea shirts over there one day too.”
Quizzed on the upcoming Euros and if they were on his mind, Hudson-Odoi said: “100 per cent. It’s always been on my mind.
“I want to get back into the squad and go with them to the tournament. You take it game by game and day by day. You’ve just got to keep doing what you’re doing, and keep improving. But yes, the Euros are definitely on my mind.
“I’m not worried [my place is in jeopardy] – you have to use every opportunity. If I play the whole game or just at the end, you’ve got to show what you can do and have that belief in yourself.
“For me, I just want to make the squad but I’m taking it game by game.”