Callum Hudson-Odoi has revealed his favoured position and has discussed the benefits of playing at wing-back.
Hudson-Odoi has featured in various roles since emerging from the Chelsea ranks, operating as both a winger and in a more defensive role at wing-back at Stamford Bridge.
The 21-year-old has also been used in a central forward role on occasion this term, with his versatility a welcome trait among Thomas Tuchel’s options.
Hudson-Odoi has discussed his changing roles in the Chelsea side and admits he prefers the freedom of an attacking position, relishing the chance to express himself with less-demanding defensive duties.
“I’d definitely say I prefer more-attacking positions for myself, as a winger or a No.10 kind of player,” he told the Chelsea website. “Obviously I like to be direct and try to create scoring opportunities for the team, hopefully try to score some myself. Playing in that position I’m more comfortable and I feel more free while playing there as well.
“So it’s definitely a nice position, to know that I can go out there, be myself, be free and try to create and score goals as well, but at the same time playing at wing-back is definitely more defensive. Your mentality is more about defending the goal than attacking the goal at times.
“In that position you always have to cover for somebody. For example, if the centre-back goes forward you have to cover in, just to make sure and be around. So it’s definitely a different position, definitely harder, so I’d say definitely an attacking position is what I prefer.”
The winger discussed the differences between playing at wing-back and in a more attacking role, admitting there are occasions when he is reluctant to venture too far forward when in the defensive position.
“There are times in a game when I’m playing wing-back and I’m looking forward and thinking I can go forward here, but then I know, just in case, if I do and we then lose the ball and it’s a counter-attack the run back is very far.
“So sometimes you decide to stay back. It depends, it’s always different situations in the game where I’m thinking I can go forward here and I can create a chance from this position or even score, but it’s vice versa and it depends on how the scenario is in the game.”
Hudson-Odoi believes his time at wing-back has helped improve his overall game, however, believing the defensive duties have benefitted his understanding on the pitch.
“I think it’s added more to my defensive side. Playing wing-back is more defensive-minded, so you have to judge when to lunge in for a tackle, not just recklessly going in, or making sure you’re in the right position when you’re covering for a team-mate, or if you’re one-on-one against an attacker you just have to make sure you stand your ground and show him outside or inside where there’s more bodies.
“For myself it’s definitely added a defensive side to my game and it helps as well, especially if you’re playing higher up the pitch, for the pressing side and knowing how to defend from the front. So it’s definitely good.”