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Hudson-Odoi on surprise England call-up: 'A dream come true'

Hudson-Odoi on surprise England call-up: 'A dream come true'
© Reuters
The 18-year-old had briefly joined up with the England Under-21 squad for the first time.

Highly-rated Chelsea teenager Callum Hudson-Odoi has been handed his first England call-up.

Part of the side that won the Under-17 World Cup in 2017, the 18-year-old has been subject of sustained interest from Bayern Munich having made his first-team breakthrough at Stamford Bridge this season.

Hudson-Odoi has yet to start a Premier League match for Chelsea but Gareth Southgate has promoted the talented winger to the senior squad after Manchester United’s Luke Shaw became the fourth player to withdraw through injury.

It has been a whirlwind day for the teenager, who had been in Bristol preparing for his first taste of international Under-21 football with Aidy Boothroyd’s side when the call came.

Hudson-Odoi had barely finished his lunch with the Young Lions before heading up to St George’s Park to join the senior team for the Euro 2020 double-header against the Czech Republic and Montenegro.

“It’s been a crazy day but getting my first (senior) international call-up is an amazing feeling,” the 18-year-old said.

“Today has been a very long day for me because I had to travel to Bristol first for the U21s and then getting told that I have to come over here to St George’s Park.

“It’s been a crazy experience but I’m delighted to get the call and it’s a nice feeling to be here as well.

“I thought the manager was joking. I was shocked and then when I heard that I actually had to go over, I couldn’t believe it. I was delighted.

“It’s a dream come true. Now I’ve got to work hard, enjoy every moment and keep working to just hopefully make an impact when I get the opportunity.

“Everybody here is very humble and they’re very nice. They make sure you’re comfortable, no one has an ego here so hopefully I get to know more of the boys here.”

Luke Shaw is the latest name to withdraw from the squad
Luke Shaw is the latest name to withdraw from the squad (John Walton/PA)

Hudson-Odoi had already been in the news on Monday after Chelsea confirmed they had lodged a formal complaint with UEFA over racist abuse aimed at the player during the closing stages of the 5-0 Europa League win away to Dynamo Kiev last week.

The 18-year-old scored in the Ukrainian capital and will become the youngest Chelsea player in history to play for England if he makes his debut this month.

Hudson-Odoi is the second new addition to the squad after in-form Southampton midfielder James Ward-Prowse linked up with the Three Lions earlier in the day.

There was some surprise about his omission from the 25-man squad named last week and Southgate had no hesitation in turning to his former Under-21 captain after Fabian Delph, John Stones and Ruben Loftus-Cheek pulled out of the squad.

Delph was replaced less than an hour into Manchester City’s FA Cup quarter-final win at Swansea, which team-mate Stones missed with a groin injury.

Loftus-Cheek came on as a second-half substitute as Chelsea lost to Everton on Sunday and has now been replaced by former Young Lions team-mate Ward-Prowse.

The 24-year-old has flourished under Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl, who has helped add aggression and goals to the midfielder’s game.

Ward-Prowse has scored six goals since the turn of the year, including stunning free-kicks in Southampton’s last two matches, and was in such impressive form that Southgate was quizzed about why he had overlooked him last week.

“We love Prowsey,” the Three Lions boss said. “I’ve been accused of being a father of Prowsey over the years!

Gareth Southgate has handed Hudson-Odoi his first call-up
Gareth Southgate has handed Hudson-Odoi his first call-up (Bradley Collyer/PA)

“This most recent spell is his best spell since we capped him before. He is, I would say, a world-class deliverer of set-plays.

“But he’s only recently got back into the team at Southampton. I think we’ve got some (good) midfield players and it isn’t a straightforward selection.”


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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool35277179205988
2Manchester CityMan City34282487226586
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs342211164352967
4Chelsea35207859382167
5Arsenal34206868432566
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd34197863481564
7Everton35147145044649
8Watford34147134949049
9Leicester CityLeicester35146154847148
10Wolverhampton WanderersWolves34139124142-148
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham35127164454-1043
12Crystal Palace35126174348-542
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle35118163544-941
14Bournemouth35125184962-1341
15Burnley35117174462-1840
16Southampton3499164057-1736
17Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton3497183253-2134
18Cardiff CityCardiff3594223065-3531
RFulham3565243376-4323
RHuddersfield TownHuddersfield3535272069-4914

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