Callum Hudson-Odoi interview: Leaving Chelsea, working with Xabi Alonso & more

By | October 25, 2022

Despite being one of Chelsea's brightest prospects in recent years, Callum Hudson-Odoi is spending this season on loan at Bayer Leverkusen. The Athletic's German football expert, Raphael Honigstein, met up with the winger to talk life in Germany, struggles at Chelsea and his chances of an England call-up for the 2022 World Cup.

0:00 Joining Leverkusen
2:08 Xabi Alonso: the manager
3:39 World Cup hopes
4:20 Chelsea, then and now
9:16 Bayern links

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#cfc #Chelsea #leverkusen

When we had the first game for Chelsea Against Everton that was in the squad That for there was my mindset saying Yeah I have to get out of it like not in A rude way or in a way where I don't Want to be the club or I don't like the Club nothing like that it was a mindset Of just I need to go and play football So column uh London to Leverkusen it's Quite a journey how's it been so far Yeah it's been good I think obviously The results haven't been the greatest Results obviously but I think as a Collective as a overall at the moment Experience wise is very good I think Like I'm enjoying my football smiling Every day when I'm here as well so it's Really nice to For that home from the boys as well Obviously everyone helping me settling Quick which was very good so Everything's going well at the moment so Yeah what are the main differences that You've picked up on as far as the Football is concerned or the environment Or living in Germany Um I would definitely say I think The way the defensive system in both the Bundesliga and the Premier League is a Bit different I think Bundesliga I think We they defend more higher and like the Lines more higher the Premier League's a Bit more low compact blocks so I think That's the only difference I can really

Tell you right now at the moment but Yeah I think both leagues are amazing League is very good good experiences in Boston it's good what was the thought Process for you to make the decision to Come here did you look at Clubs you look at the squad that you Look at the history of the club I mean How much sort of research does goes into This decision like this To be fairs Um it's more sometimes like you look at The squad for me it was more looking at The squad and seeing the players and how Exciting the squad is and how good the Players are here to play with so I think for me when I heard about Options I come to liver cruising I think It was a amazing feeling to know that Okay they've got such a good team over There the Bundesliga different League a Different experience for me I want to Come and try and do my best as much as Possible I'll definitely say that was a Major factors but I say Kai Havas as Well when you see before I came here I Was speaking to him a lot about and he Was saying it's a very good club the People that are great good people and The league is very good so it was Definitely a decision for me to say okay I'll come over here and give it a try so It's good yeah I watched training a Little bit today

Um how is it with shabby there being on The pitch I mean he's still almost like A player's needs yeah I think every ball Shooting yeah we've still got the the Same kind of mindset of the being a Flair I think obviously he's been Through and he's played it for rights Whole um career I mean he knows the ins And also football as I said he was a Great player playful many great clubs as Well so turbinement behind this wall With the experience he's had it's very Good to coach and help you develop as Well so But when we look at sometimes and he's Still kicking the balls and he wants to Be involved it's nice because you know That he's still better mentality of Wanting to play football and win the Games and stuff I saw that he's very Hands-On it's like little details you Know you turn the wrong way he's going To stop saying no don't turn that way You know because you can't control the Player Um is that something that you've Experienced before have you had to Always managers who are sort of that Much involved or is it a little bit Different with him No I think he wants to get his point Straight across from early and I think That's something I haven't really had as Much throughout the years you know I

Mean I think maybe through the academies Those coaches are trying to tell you What to do before you get to the first Team but I think from that stage on you Should know either you should know or You should be aware of what the Situation is and how you should do it You know so I think with service more Thing where he's like He's so on to you like he wants to just Be in your face and just like make sure You understand what he wants you to do And how he wants you to defend from high Or from low and press the team so yeah I Think he's definitely very much Hands-On To the other coaches that I've had about Here so it's different yeah How much um was the World Cup or is the World Cup a factor In That decision to come here and get the Game time is that at the Forefront of Your mind yeah I think obviously that Was one of the reasons why I've come Here as well I think obviously you want To be playing as many games as possible To be getting into World Cup squads and It's obviously a major competition to Play in so I think for me at the moment At that moment it was for the time of Just coming here and focusing on for Club football at the moment I think Obviously I want to come here and play Games play get as many minutes as

Possible and feature and every game Possible or as many games as I can so I think that was definitely when the Factors of me coming here but I think at That moment it was more Club football Really yeah was the decision to move Here One that sort of evolved over the summer Or even going into the season you were Kind of Of the mind that you'd probably have to Find some game time so much how did how Was that sort of process Yeah I think to myself I said to myself Look Um I wanted to go somewhere new and Start fresh and just like restart Everything and see how things will go Wherever I went to and I think obviously When I said when the liver because an Option came it was definitely one of my Main ones that I wanted to definitely Come and play football here I think At that present moment when I when we Had the first game for Chelsea against Everton I was in the squad that for There was my mindset saying yeah I have To get out of here like not in a rude Way or in a way where I don't want to be At a club or I don't like the club or Nothing like that it was a mindset of Just I need to go and play football you Know so My mindset was just let me get out play

My football somewhere else and try and Do the best I can wherever I am and then Obviously at the end of the loan go back To Chelsea so it's one of those things He's got a deal with it how it comes at The time and that's the same that's how I dealt with it when the time came to Come here and play football do you have An explanation for yourself of why you Haven't been able to kick on quite as Much as you want to is it was it the Injury was it change of managers no I Think it's one of those things where I Think the NG was a major factor to Everything I think Having an injury like that is very Difficult uh overcome and just be Yourself again I think it doesn't matter How many years it is it still will never Be the same as how you was before you Know what I mean so I think from then I Think even when I came back after like Three months or four months after the Injury it still took me like another Year to still even feel anywhere close To where I was you know so I think one of the injuries went Definitely a major thing and obviously Sometimes different managers play you in Different positions and different stuff So it's difficult to Do what you can do best in the position That you're been like told to play on Something new to try so for me it was

Always a thing where no matter where They play me I'll give my best and do What I can but at the same time You've always got to understand that Something you're going to get the best Out of yourself you've got to be playing Them where you can feel more comfortable And what you can do best or yeah I'd say Definitely those two things so you're Saying you're not Natural Born uh Wing Back no definitely not Definitely not definitely not but no That position I played it a couple times That most the time under Thomas tissue And at times it was okay it wasn't as Bad as you wanted to play but sometimes In my head I was like why am I doing it Like well am I in this position I'm Normally in the forward and in a higher Position but I'm more defending not an Attacking so it's one of those things Where I'll do what I can to help the Team it's not always about myself it's About the team as well so as I said I Was always willing to play there and Help the team never argue don't mind About it just done it and got on with it So yeah if you get any any sense of how Chelsea as a club see you and see your Future beyond beyond this loan deal Is this all the dialogue going on I Don't know to be fair I couldn't even I Didn't know the answer to that and It's difficult because when you go and

Learn somewhere you always keep in Contact with the club obviously they Have to keep in contact with you to see How you're doing and everything but at The same time you don't really know What's actually going on so you know I Mean for myself I'm just here right now playing the Football but I don't really focus on That stuff to do with that I just let Everybody behind who's working with the Chelsea people to Let them deal with it and everything and Sort it out for themselves and then they Obviously informed me about what's Happening and stuff but I don't really Get into and ask what's happening what's Going on I just focus on what I'm doing Here and what I can do and help the team Yeah but one of the honest has been in Touch now and once you've left or he's Left a message I think to Burley said Yeah yeah yeah he was um we kept in Contact obviously after but not before I Left and he was just like make sure you Go and do your thing over there be Confident be free and just be the player That you you want to be like be yourself Don't think of anything else and it was Good because you had that kind of Motivation to hear that and it's like Okay let me come here and play I can't Just be myself and that's what I hope I've been doing since I've been here so

You just want to continue and keep going Enough hopefully as I said everything Else will follow and just it could be a Very unforgiving environment at the time Would that be fair to say with Thomas in Charge yeah I think there's times where You look at you think why what happened Wrong what's going wrong about You you know I would never bad mouth him Or say anything bad about him he was Always a good guy a good man like always On the pitch and off the pitch was both Good so I think it's just at times where It's difficult to know that obviously Especially the team have so many great Players as well and you have to Obviously fight for a position and Working harder so it's definitely Difficult at times with him but you just Have to get on with it and do what you Can have to say yeah well I think the Way to do it is try to just not give the Coach an excuse to take you off right Exactly that's the player that's it that Is it last question Um Bayern Munich sliding doors moment Looking back or Not one of those things no it's one of Those things I think everything happens For a reason you know I think in life Like As I said everything up for a reason you Don't want to dwell on stuff that's

Happened that was in the past and like You regret it now because everything's Happening now and I think for myself You gotta focus on what happens now it's The present and the future that's next So you've always got focused on being Strong and you say you know what crack On and do whatever you can to do so for Me that's always my mentality just keep Going no matter what is no you're on the Bundesliga right now yeah so yeah thank You no worries no worries Foreign [Music]