Callum Hudson-Odoi once again impressed Frank Lampard as the winger pushed his case to play more regularly with a starring role in Chelsea’s FA Cup triumph over Morecambe.
The arrival of high-profile signings Kai Havertz, Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech during the previous transfer window increased competition for places in Chelsea’s attack – and Hudson-Odoi has often found himself stuck on the fringes.
However, Lampard made room for all four players in his starting XI for Sunday’s third-round tie at Stamford Bridge, with the hosts running out comfortable 4-0 winners.
Hudson-Odoi certainly seized his opportunity, scoring a goal and creating three chances. The England international completed 85.5 per cent of his passes and sent in seven crosses, four of which were rated as ‘good’ by Opta.
He has started just two Premier League games this season so far, though Lampard acknowledges the 20-year-old is doing everything right in his push to get consistent minutes.
“Callum is playing well. He’s improving, he has improved and there is much more to come,” the Chelsea boss told the media after the tie.
“For the goal today, it was a fantastic example of running and breaking the lines and ending up in the area like a striker, because that is what the modern winger does.
“He’s making it [his case to get a run of games] now. Probably when fit, we have three natural wingers, maybe one or two others who can play in that position.
“There is always going to be times when I have to make decisions over selection, which means Callum might be in, or someone else may be in.
“But the way he is playing now absolutely at this minute means he’s assisting, he scoring goals, he’s a threat every time he plays. It makes me really happy, because today was definitely an uplift from Callum, there are more gears he can go through.
“He is another young player [at Chelsea] with a lot to come and we shouldn’t expect too much, but when he’s playing like he’s playing now, it’s good to expect more from him because he’s showing a lot.”
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While Hudson-Odoi is pressing to feature for the first team, Fikayo Tomori could be on his way out of Chelsea.
The centre-back came on as a second-half substitute against Morecambe but Lampard confirmed afterwards that a loan move could happen in January – provided it is right for all parties.
On Tomori potentially leaving, Lampard said: “The situation is kind of open at the moment. There’s a possibility he could go on loan to get games somewhere else.
“That would have to be the right solution for him and the club. It was part of my thinking in not starting him today, but giving him some minutes at the end. While we are looking at that, I want to make sure it’s the right thing for him and the club.
“His attitude, while not playing so much recently with five or six centre-backs at the club, has been fantastic, in terms of working in training every day and how he is.”