Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi opens up on ‘weird’ neurological issue that meant he couldn’t pass the ball 10 yards or run properly… but insists he is in ‘perfect’ shape after bulking up in the gym over the summer
- Callum Hudson-Odoi reveals extent of debilitating injury suffered last season
- Chelsea star was unable to pas the ball 10 yards or run properly due to injury hell
- England winger has spent the summer bulking up ahead of the new campaign
- Hudson-Odoi insists it’s business as usual despite the new regime at the club
Callum Hudson Odoi has endured a difficult period at Chelsea mostly due to a number of frustrating injuries which have hampered his progress at club and international level.
Hudson-Odoi amassed 28 appearances last term but hasn’t featured for the Blues since March due to an Achilles injury that developed into a much more pressing issue for the winger.
Callum Hudson-Odoi is back at pre-season training and hoping to put his injury hell behind him
‘The whole summer I’ve just been trying to build on my strength and my fitness, just focusing on me getting back to being myself really,’ Hudson-Odoi told Chelsea’s official website.
‘I’ve been here (Chelsea’s training centre) for the past five out of six weeks with just a one-week break and it’s good to know I’ve started early to be as fit as possible before the boys came back. I’m definitely feeling much stronger. There’s a new trim for me as well, a new style for a new season.’
Hudson-Odoi revealed that a summer of intense gym work was always in the pipeline as he pinpointed strength as an area of his game that required improvement.
‘My main goal this summer and throughout the season is to be stronger. There were times in the season last year when I was running with the ball and feeling like I could get barged off it or I’m not as strong as I thought I was.
Hudson-Odoi has spent them summer in the gym in a bid to impress boss Thomas Tuchel
‘I’ve been putting more muscle on in training to make sure I’m getting bigger so when the opponents come, I know that I’m strong enough to hold them off, or that I won’t get barged and I can barge them instead.’
His last game for Chelsea came in the FA Cup tie against Luton on March 2 when he was replaced on the hour mark and subsequently banished to the treatment room for the remainder of the campaign and the England international revealed the details of what turned out to be a bizarre injury.
‘It was a weird one. It was a neurological thing where I had a tweaked nerve in my back and it stemmed all the way down through my body, so it then became difficult for me to retain muscle. There was no power really in my legs and everything was like ‘woah’. I was trying to pass the ball 10 yards but I had no power and I couldn’t even do it.
‘I think it was also a post-coronavirus thing from December, which I couldn’t believe because it had been such a long time before. The issue started with my Achilles and then I was trying to use other parts of my body to make up for it, so for example when I was running I wasn’t running on my toes as much because my Achilles power wasn’t that strong.
The winger was in fine form before his injury helping Chelsea win the FIFA Club World Cup
‘I was trying to find another way to run and then it started affecting my back but all of it is good now. My Achilles is strong again and my back is strong so everything is perfect. It’s one of those things but I’m glad to be back and to have all my power, strength and speed back is all that I can wish for.’
Hudson-Odoi already had a fight on his hands to stake a claim for a place in Tuchel’s starting line-up and it looks as though the competition for places will further intensify with the impending acquisition of Raheem Sterling from Manchester City.
But the winger is purely focused on game time and preferably in his favoured left-sided position where he played a cluster of games last season, producing arguably his best form for the club
‘I want to be playing as much as possible. Regular football brings out the consistency so I want to just keep playing and playing as much as I can. Playing those 10 out of 11 games in my preferred position on the left side was massive for me because that’s where I know I can be at my best and do what I do as much as possible.
Hudson-Odoi will have to convince manager Thomas Tuchel he is worthy of a starting place
Chelsea are preparing for a pre-season tour of the USA as they embark on a first full season under the ownership of Todd Boehly but for Hudson-Odoi it’s business as usual and is focusing on what his team can achieve on the pitch rather than the changes off it.
‘To be fair, right now it just feels like a new season. Not much has changed for us and we try to stay out of that as much as possible. We want to stay focused on training and games and doing the best that we can do.
‘When we see all that stuff, we notice it but at the same time we want to just focus more on our football and that’s what we’re going to try and do for the next couple of weeks out there.’